For every day’s delicious evening meal: Applause!
For the barest subsistence level – only delicious rice and pickles: Applause!

For all the piles of dog turds on the roadside: Applause!
For the rare experience of stepping on it in my new leather shoes
on my first date: Applause!

For a baby about to be born: Applause!
For a younger brother who died at childbirth –
Thank goodness he didn’t have to experience life’s hardships: Applause!

As for Grandpa who died at ninety,
for his having lived as long as ninety years in the kind of world we live in today: Applause!

Bravo for works of art by great geniuses: Applause!
As for artists endlessly beset by self-doubt, for the pleasure of their long journey: Applause!

For the well-formed person: Applause!
For the manliness of a macho who shows off in his vanity: Applause!
As for a man who constantly complains, for his frankness without vanity: Applause!

For a girl who is about to marry: Applause!
As for a girl who remains single, for her noble self-pride: Applause!

For a healthy, vibrant body: Applause!
For a man in his illness: Applause, because by that his power to survive is tested.
As for an incurable disease, for the dazzling sense it gives one that one is living
at this very moment: Applause!

For a good man who will be saved as he is: Applause!
For a bad man who, because of the depths of his sin, has more room to be saved: Applause!

For the redness of a red winter camellia blooming on the fence: Applause!
For the dead winter camellia that, falling, scatters its seeds on the ground: Applause!

Editor's Note: The audio recording of this poem was made in July 2000.