to the small poem and the quiet voice within

yosano akiko | one hundred more poems from the japanese

Nagisa naru
Sutareshi fune ni
Mizu michite
Shiroku utsureru
Hatsu-aki no sora

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

-Yosano Akiko

[from: ONE HUNDRED MORE POEMS FROM THE JAPANESE, by Kenneth Rexroth, New Directions, 1974]


  1. Jujitsu Wiker

    Rare spun silk
    Asphyxiates her torso
    Her tranquil song
    Bound to no one

  2. Don

    Thanks, Norb, she is truly one of the masters of tanka.

  3. Hatto Fischer

    When I first came to Greece in 1966
    I fell in love immediately with Neraida,
    to her I swam out every morning in the bay
    of Gialtra on the island Evia, but then I had to leave
    and when I returned after the Junta fell in 1974
    I saw her again lying on the beach,
    a few years later her ribs seemed broken,
    no longer her nose lifted stiff against the wind
    for she was a fisherboat now missing her planks
    which all the men had torn out of her for making fire
    and so I mourn my love for that fisherboot now gone
    up in smoke to signal like Indians do she lives on
    where Gods steal man’s humor and chase Odyssey
    through the seas past such loves as my beautiful Neraida.

  4. Norbert Blei

    Interesting how Yosano Akiko inspired two such beautiful poems (above) in ordinary (extraordinary) commentary–Jujitsu Wiker and Hatto Fischer. I thank you both–and Don too, who knows the way of tanka and the resonance of small.

    Thank ALL of you, in fact, who take the time to comment on all the sites I try to maintain. Monsieur K. thanks you too. –nb

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