This Evening

after Kotaro Takamura

On the hearth, the gas fire warms
Oolong tea, wind wanes this evening moon.

Outside, the world
Would have us
Regimented, in uniform,
Contriving innocence,
Snapping to attention.
Lost in the world’s maelstrom,
Knowing hearts, once
Artless and free.

You understand. It’s clear
That’s how the world is,
A cruel and callous circle,
Clutching to itself a harsh conceit.
So those true to themselves –
Yesterday, today, or tomorrow –
Are cursed as insincere,
Tormented, as you’ve been.

Never trust them;
As if in horror, they
Spread idle rumors,
Uncaring of who
They injure.

They, it is they who should be shunned.
Turn your back on them, they are
Insignificant, nothing, less than nothing.
Instead, let us follow our own hearts,
Take the path we were meant to take.
Let our spirits seek harmony
In our thoughts, beauty in nature,
Power in our own spirit, indomitable.
Let us transform this grotesque
Toad of hurt into nobility.

And let us love’s sweetness savor,
Let us unravel every tangled strand
Of this our life together, as we are, free
As the wind blowing, as the clouds streaming,
True to the universe, to ourselves, to our soul’s
Compass, nature’s bright sagesse.

Come then – banish these doubts,
Worth scarcely half a thought –
And let us together sup, you and I,
Openly, this evening, outside,
In Ginza.


  1. More in my attempt to interpret the work of Kotaro Takamura through the sensibilities of a writer who is first a poet.

    As always, my hope is to complement the translation work done by talented scholars such as Leanne Ogasawara, Paul Archer and John G. Peters; and help introduce Takamura to more readers.

    The Chieko poems trace Kotaro Takamura's life with Chieko Naganuma, an iconoclastic woman artist - their attraction, separation, marriage, his coming to terms with her illness and death, and the power of love.

    Short link -

  2. Anonymous3:30:00 PM

    Oh Sem companion piece is my friend Joseph look! if you get a chance? The Hermit, folds so nicely alongside yours.

    I see anthos. Exquisite anthos. Taschen books for them. With Photography? amassing cherryblossoms --
    This is just exquisite and will share soon. Whew. Sem. Sam. Sem. Beauty.

  3. Thank you for the kind words

    I'd like to take this opportunity to ask those who can to help the Red Cross relief effort for the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami...
    • US - Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10
    • Canada - Text ASIA to 30333 to donate $5


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