As some of you all know, I lived in Japan as a young child. During the mid-to-late 1970s, my father was a U.S. Customs representative assigned to the embassy in Tokyo and my mother taught Spanish at an all-girls Catholic school. My dad’s first boss during his tenure was Ambassador James Day Hodgson, who before being appointed to that position by Gerald Ford, had served as Secretary of Labor under Richard Nixon.
In 1992, Hodgson published a book titled American Senryu: Verses by a Former Ambassador. I purchased a copy in 1993 on a visit to Tokyo, and the tome remains one of my most valued possessions, for the wisdom contained therein is timeless.
For those unfamiliar with the Japanese literary art form of senryu, click here.
Apropos of recent events elsewhere, I was reminded of the good ambassador’s verse about pettiness, found on page 53 of his book:
A melange of evil
Swims noisily in the small mind
“About all that can be said on behalf of the mean-spirited is that their fulminations are rarely rewarded. Most of their spiteful scheming sputters and peters out in pathetic ineptitude.”
Sou desu ne.