Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age Poetry Friday Reading Themes

A Tribute to One of the Greatest Animated Films of All Time


Hello. Fats here.

As we continue with our theme on Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age, I took this opportunity to pay tribute to the Japanese animated film, Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka). Film director Isao Takahata’s words and visions were brought to life by Studio Ghibli in 1988. The story focuses on a young boy named Seita, his little sister, Setsuko, and their struggles during World War II. I’ve seen the film a few times, and Myra had also shown the film to her Social Science and Psychology classes when she was teaching in the Philippines. Considered as one of the most powerful war films, Grave of the Fireflies will do more than just tug at your heartstrings. It will tear your heart apart and leave you with an empty feeling inside that no words could possibly fill. Be sure to have at least one box of Kleenex with you when you watch this movie.

“Why must fireflies die so young?”
— Setsuko




Here is a poem of the same title as the movie written by Elijah Gray. In the Author Notes, Elijah noted that the poem was inspired by the songs, “Nocturne” and “The Promise,” by Secret Garden. This beautiful poem is not to be missed, so I thought of sharing this for Poetry Friday. The poetry roundup is hosted this week by Sherry at Semicolon.

Grave of the Fireflies

A home of wonder, the heart of me,
Lay far beyond my weary plea,
Where children play in starry nights,
Amidst the fireflies sparkling lights.

A back yard full of fairy tales,

Wizards, forts, and pirate sails,
Giants, ghosts, and funny sounds;
Imagined fires to gather round.A tea cup placed in every lap,
And crayons on a treasure map,
That leads to riches yet unseen,
Buried near the trampoline.

Where mud pies taste like puppy breath,
There is no talk of work or death,
The greatest word to say is “why”,
And God dwells in a lullaby.

A place in time that’s soon to pass,
Where blankets crush the silky grass,
And fingers built for cookie jars,
Point at all the dancing stars.

For every year that children grow,
The fireflies slowly dim their glow,
And when their playmates cease to dream,
They quench their little yellow beam.

3 comments on “A Tribute to One of the Greatest Animated Films of All Time

  1. It’s a rather sad poem, isn’t it? But I think I need to save it and read it over again. It’s poignant.


  2. Very wistful. Beautifully done.


  3. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Displaced Hearts and Nontraditional Families in Picture Books “Every Saturday” and “Fly Away Home” |

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