Gain by Toyo Suyemoto

GAIN by Toyo Suyemoto is featured in the first issue of TREK, a literary magazine published in December 1942 by Japanese Americans incarcerated in the Topaz Concentration Camp during World War II.

Source: The Utah State University Topaz Japanese American Relocation Center Digital Collection.

Information about Toyo Suyemoto:
Densho Encylopedia
Mapping Literary Utah
Ohio State University Japanese Collections

Text of the poem:


I sought to seed the barren earth
    And make wild beauty take
Firm root, but how could I have known
    The waiting long would shake

Me inwardly, until I dared
    Not say what would be gain
From such untimely planting, or
    What flower worth the pain?

                     — Toyo Suyemoto

Check out the Concentrational Poetic Resonance project to read more poems like this and learn about the poetry of the Japanese American World War II concentration camp experience.