THE TUNIC OF 1000 STITCHES OF WHITE BRAID

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World War Two

Japan

A young man

Receives call-up papers

His Emperor needs him

He must fight

His nations cause

The foe

The combined might

Of America

Of Great Britain

And their Allies

He lives with his family

A remote village

Before he departs

Exactly 1000 ladies

Young and old

Each

By way of tradition

And in turn

Sew a stitch of white braid

Into his tunic

For good luck

 

Conscription

Is a curse

When you are young

Still a virgin

Grateful for the tunic

Of a thousand stitches

He does though

Have a preference

Not one spoken

Publicly

It was not to be

No mercy

In the hearts

Of the girls and ladies

Who stitched

 

To war he went

A troubled boy

Knowing the option

For surrender

Was not an option

In victory or defeat

He would likely die

A troubled virgin

Accepting his lot

 

The boy though

Did make it home

A man now

Likely

The oldest virgin

In the village

It was time

To make up

For lost time

 

  • Based on a true story I read a little while ago.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “THE TUNIC OF 1000 STITCHES OF WHITE BRAID

  1. Very nicely written, sir. There is a very private museum on Japan’s Self-Defense Navy (Etajima). I was privileged to be allowed in. It was a memorial hall to the kamikaze. Hermetically controlled displays showed dozens of such headbands. My aunt cried all through it. Very sad…but I am glad your soldier made it home in your poem.

  2. Having just read about F. Steeden’s ironic fate, I’m kinda relieved this poem has a better ending;) My guess is he didn’t stay the oldest virgin for a long time;)

    1. Might have missed the boat – although I guess with so many of his peer group sadly dying maybe – hope so – there were those in his village who sorted the poor chap out.

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