He speaks about his buildings
as if they might be beloved children
slowly making himself clear
translating his Japanese thoughts
into careful English,
with a humility that would shame
some of the great ones,
dead and alive.
A paper cathedral, colorful shipping crates
for the displaced of natural disasters.
Not encouraged by his family,
his father, in particular, this man
was once a young boy who dreamed
and says why not me, why not paper,
cardboard or recyclable materials?
Why can't architects help the poor
feel that they matter? Temporary dwellings
become loved and permanent, useful.
Even his more extravagant, better paying
designs and buildings incorporate
a fusion of nature, within and outside.
His soft laughter is like wind on water
and I find myself wishing him happiness
though seemingly he has found that and more.