Not Play

after Kotaro Takamura

Not play, but we sweep the hours under
Our tatami mats. Together, to work,

But our scrolls remain unpainted,
Our books unread. We laugh, embrace,

Let these nights, implacable, wane;
Let these days whip by like lightning, rain.

Not play, but love abundant,
Sputtering like an August fuse, exuberant

As the bloom and wither of grasses
In the mountain’s ventricles,

As the intonation of sun
Across the clouds’ vast migration,

As the boundless thunder
Bending rainfall into the wind’s color.

Not play, but here at last, and ankle-deep
In life’s most wondrous sweep,

The promise of this transcendent kiss:
At last together, at long last bliss.


30 comments:

  1. A very liberal adaptation of a poem from 'Chieko Sky', by Kotaro Takamura. The volume collects poems to his wife Chieko, and evidences the power of love over a descent into madness, and even death.

    As always, my hope is that this effort will complement the work of talented translators such as Leanne Ogasawara, Paul Archer and John G. Peters, and help introduce Takamura and his celebrated poems to more readers.

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4notplay

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  2. If this poem were not full of my favorite words, I would still be moved; if it were not redolent of my very longings, I would still envy it and you; if i did not find it sweet to sleep upon on a very cold night, it would still warm me to the core. As it is, I cried.

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  3. such beauty, love, and romance displayed with your words. this was a wonderful adaptation...

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  4. This was beautiful...I loved the language...a wonderful job!

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  5. This is just lovely--the sweep of it, from tatami mats to sky. K.

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  6. Beautifully penned. Very gentle and filled with love.
    Lovely.

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  7. Very beautifully penned. Simple flow and great adaptation.

    Hank

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  8. love the images in this...sweeping the hours under
    our tatami mats..such a beautiful asian feel to this...and much space to breathe between the lines...love it

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  9. your poems always lead me to wonder. thank you.

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  10. The use of language here is amazing. The line about the sputtering fuse - beautiful. Need to check more. Thank you for your comments on 'cold snap'- It made my day. I love the concept behind Martian poetry- using imagery and metaphor creates Infinite opportunities to express

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  11. One of your commenters called this poem "gentle"--that is exactly right. And there is something decidedly Neruda-like going on in these poems...lovely work.

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  12. As the bloom and wither of grasses
    In the mountain’s ventricles,

    This image jumped out at me, but really the whole poem is as vivid and exciting. I could have picked from anywhere.

    Impressive.

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  13. Ah yes, the power of love.
    Not always to be lieved, even if it is present.
    Lovely exotic flavour to this came through.

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  14. A fabulous, beautifully crafted and lyrical write, Sam-- bravo. I especially love:

    Let these nights, implacable, wane;
    Let these days whip by like lightning, rain.

    Not play, but love abundant,
    Sputtering like an August fuse, exuberant

    As the bloom and wither of grasses
    In the mountain’s ventricles...


    xxxj

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  15. smiles...a reutiful rendering of this sam....a very gentle verse...and love that is described within it...

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  16. Thank you for this lovely translation. I suppose even when we translate, a little of our soul is spilled into the work, so you are infused in here, and the product is delightful.

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  17. I hardly know what to say to you not knowing how much of the wonder I feel in this poem is from your master and how much from you. Together, you "sweep the hours under / Our tatami mats . . . ." You need never meet, need never kiss, may watch each other's lives and loves through a time warp, and yet you share "the mountain's ventricles" and "the cloud's vast migration" and show us this grandeur.

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  18. Very groovy- I have made a note of Kotaro Takamura for further reading. Peace.

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  19. As the boundless thunder
    I love your writing and always look forward to learning something new so thanks for the link on Chieko's poetry.

    Capturing the enduring power of love, wonderfully done! And I love this line . . ."Bending rainfall into the wind’s color" -- wow!

    And the last two stanzas --
    Not play, but here at last, and ankle-deep
    In life’s most wondrous sweep

    The promise of this transcendent kiss:
    At last together, at long last bliss.

    How we try to hold on to the grip of love -- at all costs -- and just sometimes find a place where we can sigh a deep soul sigh of relief to have been found!

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  20. Everything that poetry can and should be is in this one--thoughts shadowing every word, feelings shadowing every thought. A beautiful piece, Samuel.

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  21. Gentle, playful, delightful, and wonderfully 'loose', simply gorgeous!

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  22. Oh my, this one swept me away. Beautifully worded, I hesitate to chose any one line as each one adds to this to make it whole. All of this in the promise of a kiss. This is wonderful!

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  23. Beautiful love poem ~

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  24. Thank you for the translation - translation is an unsung art :)

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  25. thank you for the introduction. this is a wonderful piece. "evidences the power of love over a descent into madness, and even death" in your afterword, frightened -then awakened something in me.

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  26. like ithil this poem feels hopeful and full of love

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  27. Love these lovely words - thank you.

    Anna :o]

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