The Two of Us

after Kotaro Takamura

It is you my soul is embracing,
Will always be embracing.

Here I am, and here you are,
Each in each other’s world consumed,
My life and yours entwined, braided
Together, woven into one, as if
We were there the instant
This world began.

No longer that separation,
No longer what kept us apart
As man and woman, no longer
The boundaries between us.

Only faith, devotion, passion,
Unleashed, with the fervor
Of a matrimony.

Only steadfast faith,
Offered as if by nature,
As we rise above the world’s
Vagaries.

Only faith in the two of us,
My pain reflecting your pain,
My pleasure your pleasure,
My trust mirrored in your trust,
And my hand holding yours, together,
Wherever we may go.

For it is you I breathe into me,
And you shine, an ionized
Flame that warms my soul
With an ardent life, my love,
My inexhaustible muse.

For it is you who is real,
Your kisses moist on my cheek,
Your limbs cool against mine,
Your wondrous body,
Your luminescent skin,
Life’s fuse igniting in you,
My own life’s sustenance.

For it is you, my love, with such faith
That you take residence in me,
Shape yourself in me.

So I embrace
This our life,
Our magnificat
Of yearning,
Deepening
Into rapture,
Growing
Into light.


58 comments:

  1. An adaptation of one of Kotaro Takamura's poems, 'Two Of Us', written for his wife Chieko, from a celebrated collection that 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/s4twoofus

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  2. Sam, Kotaro Takamura's translated words are beautiful words of love! His wife is very fortunate to be the recipient of such words of love.

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  3. I love it Sam. These lines speak to me:

    For it is you, my love, with such faith
    That you take residence in me,
    Shape yourself in me

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  4. Thank you for introducing us to this poet and form, and for sharing your writing project with us on Real Toads.

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  5. Passionate and full of warmth and love. Really enjoyed reading this. I applaud you for your effort. Thanks for it.

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  6. translation is often transcreation....kudos on a job so well done that it didnt feel like a translation at all.wonderful poem.

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  7. This is beautiful and should be read at weddings!

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  8. "Our magnificat of yearning".........such beautiful writing! Simply wonderful to read.

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  9. I agree with Laurie - beautiful indeed!

    Anna :o]

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  10. What a testament to love. Guests would be blessed to hear this as a reading during a wedding ceremony. Your translation allowed me to enjoy what would otherwise be inaccessible. Thank you for that.

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  11. I love it Sam. Best lines for me:

    For it is you, my love, with such faith
    That you take residence in me,
    Shape yourself in me.

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  12. Thanks to all so far for the kind words! I've adapted 23 poems so far out of the Chieko poems, so I'm about halfway to completing the series.

    I did want to explain a bit more about this version - because there was some debate about it previously, and I wanted to be clear.

    This isn't a translation, there are a couple of good translations available, and one of those who's worked on these, Leanne Ogasawara, has helped me now and again with cultural and historical context.

    This is an adaptation, keeping to what I feel is the essence of the original, but re-imagining it, the way Ezra Pound adapted poems from Li Po. Any departures from the original, any missteps, are my own.

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    Replies
    1. Missteps or not, they are wonderful. You were introduced by a friend and I've since followed your entries. I am awed.

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  13. There are too many lovely lines but this struck a chord in me:

    For it is you I breathe into me,
    And you shine, an ionized
    Flame that warms my soul

    Beautiful

    Thanks for sharing Samuel

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  14. I really like this imagery, Sam:

    "Each in each other’s world consumed,
    My life and yours entwined, braided"

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  15. this is so beautiful...I can read the words over and over again...

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  16. this is so beautiful...I can read the words over and over again...

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  17. I don't think one could find a better commitment poem than this. Who is this luckly girl?

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  18. "Growing into light". I came back for another read of this lyrically beautiful poem. And thanks for your comment on my love poem. The dove reference is to when I told him I was leaving (we had five teenagers between us, all acting out, impossible), he said nothing, but leaned over and opened the door of the dove cage so she could fly free. Sigh.

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  19. this is really beautiful sam...love the intimacy...the breathing of each other and recognizing the real...and your words def have that lyrical quality...beautiful love song man...

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  20. an amazing love story! Thanks for sharing with us.

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  21. A wonderfully tender love poem - something I find impossible to write, but your translation/adaptationank you. is perfect. Th

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  22. Quite beautiful- life affirming, and such delicate balance of words. This captures that feeling of love- it makes you feel it- physically, as you read the words, and that is why this is so powerful. Finely, finely crafted

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  23. A lot of beautiful things here. I think the last stanza could stand alone!

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  24. What must it feel like to have something so beautifully written about you.
    A wonderful interpretation of the expressed sentiment.

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  25. You know I love this series, Sam, and this one is no exception, very full bodied singing, and as intense emotionally as it gets in poetry, which is about as intense as it gets, period, for me, since I believe poetry is the prime language of shared emotion, insomuch as such things can be spoken.

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  26. A really wonderful poem about what love can and should be--even after years--Just gorgeous writing--

    For it is you I breathe into me,
    And you shine, an ionized
    Flame that warms my soul

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  27. oh nice...love the intimacy in this sam....esp...For it is you I breathe into me...just made me hold my breath in awe..

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  28. Aristophanes: No, obviously the soul of each is longing for something else which it cannot put into normal words but keeps trying to express in oracles and riddles. Suppose that, as the lovers lay together, Hephaistos should come and stand over them, tools in hand and ask ‘O human beings, what is it that you want of one another?’ And supposed they were nonplussed, so he put the question again: ‘Well is this what you crave, to be joined in the closest possible union with one another, so as not to leave one another by night and day?’

    Your adaptation perfectly captures this, beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for renewing my interest in the Greeks, Anna. Great comment.

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  29. Very beautiful. I love this stanza:

    For it is you I breathe into me,
    And you shine, an ionized
    Flame that warms my soul
    With an ardent life, my love,
    My inexhaustible muse.

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  30. How perfect this is - today's napowrimo is an epithalamnion and none I've read including Milton's is finer than this. If I could have written it prior to my marriage, I would have as this is truly what defines a fulfilled union. It rises above the physical and exists both inside and outside the spiritual at once. Indeed, this is beautiful.

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  31. Clever, creative and crushingly romantic. Home run!

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  32. Speechless. It doesn't get better than this. I bow.

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  33. I got goosebumps reading it..!!!
    Absolutely divine!
    It was like a movie sequence which I could figure out..feel it so much!!Loved it..

    Thank you for leaving lovely words on my page!! Means a lot!
    Gracious always!
    ~Keep the Spark ALive..

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  34. Delicate beauty and emotion woven into this poem. Thank you for your visit and comment. Glad you enjoyed the post. I haven't been here in ... well, too long. I'm adding you to my Google reader.

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  35. shape yourself in me... this our life... very nice. completely passionate.

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  36. What a beautiful song of love. So tender, so transcendent. Sigh... with a gentle smile.

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  37. I love the romanticism, and particularly thrill to the movement of the last verse.

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  38. someone earlier commented "crushingly romantic," and i think that somehow fits this, if a thing of such delicacy is capable of crushing...

    i would be interested in reading, if not the original (since i can't), at least what you would consider a "good" translation of the original. just a suggestion, but maybe you could include here a link? thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for asking... Here's a link to Leanne Ogasawara's translation...
      "The Two of Us (1913)"

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  39. The utter depth of emotion here is thrillingly warming! Such tenderness and yet realisation, openess and connection, I really love this! xoxo

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  40. Sam,
    Takamura going by the translation is fantastic. It's great that you brought it in here. The words of love are always and are readily beautiful.Thanks for sharing!

    Hank

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  41. I miss that feeling... especially after reading your beautiful words.

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  42. This is a love poem that goes beyond the surface right into the true essence of love.

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  43. very deep and beautiful ... loved your blog. :-)

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  44. ... so complete dripping with unending love... nice

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  45. Semaphore, I dont have an email address for you. Would you please contact me at WildWoman2@shaw.ca? Want to ask you something. Also, I just added you to the blogroll at Poets United, and apologize for the delay. Thanks for linking to Poets United. I look forward to seeing you on the site.

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  46. Well, this is lovely! A kind of wonderful Easter poem in an odd way--this living again-the echo in another. K.

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  47. For it is you I breathe into me,
    And you shine, an ionized
    Flame that warms my soul
    With an ardent life, my love,
    My inexhaustible muse.

    Love this... and thank you for your kind comment on my wordpress blog!

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  48. just thought i'd stop by and wish you a lovely easter monday...it's good having you on the team sam..

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  49. Ohhh...so tender, passionate, intimate! Absolutely beautiful! What love!

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  50. I caught that it was a poem about matrimonial love before I saw the word "matrimony" ... this is such a beautiful poem....

    'For it is you I breathe into me,
    And you shine, an ionized
    Flame that warms my soul
    With an ardent life, my love,
    My inexhaustible muse'

    That's my favourite stanza ... awesome!

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  51. so profound and full of love

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  52. Heart felt and beautiful. Such a blessing to read someone married, and so in love. I've been ridiculously happily married for almost 14 years; nice to know we have company. ;)

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  53. What a beautiful poem on marriage!

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  54. This is breathtakingly beautiful--and a picture of what marriage should be1

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  55. Came back to comment on this most beautiful of love poems : "our magnificat of yearning deepening into rapture". Sounds like true love, to me. How beautiful!!!!

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