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Akiko Yosano

(7 December 1878 - 29 May 1942 / Sakai)

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River of Stars


Left on the beach
Full of water
A worn out boat
Reflects the white sky --
Of early autumn.

Swifter than hail
Lighter than a feather,
A vague sorrow
Crossed my mind.

Feeling you nearby,
how could I not come
to walk beneath
this evening moon rising
over flowering fields.

It was only
the thin thread of a cloud,
almost transparent,
leading me along the way
like an ancient sacred song.

I say his poem,
propped against this frozen wall,
in the late evening,
as bitter autumn rain
continues to fall.
What I count on
is a white birch
that stands
where no human language
is ever heard.

A bird comes
delicately as a little girl
to bathe
in the shade of my tree
in an autumn puddle.

Even at nineteen,
I had come to realize
that violets fade,
spring waters soon run dry,
this life too is transient

He stood by the door,
calling through the evening
the name of my
sister who died last year
and how I pitied him!


Translated by Sam Hamill & Keiko Matsui Gibson

Submitted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Edited: Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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