To a Woman Now Gone

after Kotaro Takamura

Sparrows tap at the window glass, and I stir.
Beside me your gloxinia blossoms, as if you were here.

And all my senses suddenly awaken to a morning breeze
Wafting in at 5 a.m. with your fragrant ease.

White sheets flung off, I stretch my arms in the light,
In this morning sunshine that is your smile.

Your whisper in me asks, how will this day be unfolding?
You stand and watch me, all-seeing, all-knowing.

As if I have become a child;
As if you have become a mother, mine.

Here still, here still.
You have become everything, what moves, what fills.

And though I am the least worthy of your grace,
Here I am – by you surrounded, enfolded, embraced.


  1. I am deeply thankful to Leanne Ogasawara, whose wonderful translations introduced me to the poet Kotaro Takamura and the Chieko poems.

    Published in 1941, the poems are a milestone in modern Japanese poetry, and trace 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.

    Addressing the difficulties of translation across metaphorical constructs, my work is an attempt to interpret the various translations through a poet's sensibilities.

    Successful or not, my hope is that my adaptation introduces more readers to Takamura's poetic legacy.

  2. Glorious.
    Thank you so very much. Yes, your post makes me want to read more translated poems by Takamura.

  3. This is beautiful, Samuel!

  4. I'm glad, thank you for your kind words.

    Short link -

  5. Thank you for posting this lovely poem.

  6. Much appreciated! The several translations of Kotaro Takamura's work are inspiring, but I felt that I could see something a little different through the lens of own literary background - so I'm glad my rendition works in some way.

  7. Beautiful. I have never heard of the poet Kotaro Takamura. Thanks for the lovely poem inspired because of her work.

  8. Thanks for the wonderful comments, this convinces me even more to continue this series.

  9. oh it sam...As if I have become a child;
    As if you have become a mother, mine.... there's such a subtle magic and warmth and freshness in this...feels like a gentle breeze or a kiss or a whisper...wonderful

  10. ah nice man...everything is infused with them...i like how you take a moment, of waking...and expand it to include them in so many ways...yet they are gone....very nice...felt man

  11. This is a good poem, filled with great romantic imagery.

  12. I love the sense of place and the senses in this place, that she is everything. Lovely

  13. Anonymous10:35:00 PM

    This is a new one for me, Samuel, and I love its gentle grace. Thank you for sharing it. -- Melissa

  14. Anonymous12:06:00 AM sure you were worthy of her grace :) who doesnt love a poet!

  15. "as if you were here"....<--- I get that feeling strongly from the piece.

  16. Very beautiful and thanks for some new things to know....its always rewarding to visit here....

  17. Lovely, intoxicating even. Each line added to the enjoyment.

  18. ..longing and grieving... the mood i felt when i read this poem and as evidenced in your first stanza...the emotions conveyed here are so pure and sincere for anyone not to be touched. Thanks for the poem.

    Good Day!

  19. Very fragile and precious moments of moments. Visualised it as I read it. Very beautifully written.

  20. Anonymous7:41:00 AM

    So delicately balanced and heartfelt, but without being overly sentimental (if that makes sense) just has a deep rooted emotion and longing that is almost impossible to adequately describe. Great job Sam- its beautiful

  21. "And though I am the least worthy of your grace,
    Here I am – by you surrounded, enfolded, embraced.~
    Deeply moving. These final two lines are magnificent.
    A triumph!

  22. ..this spurred me to read about sad she died as she did, and his poetry brings her back to him, whole, her true self, and with a completeness so compelling..

  23. Anonymous10:37:00 AM

    Beautiful words--thank you for featuring Takamura, a poet to be enjoyed

  24. This swept me away with its beauty, its fluidity, its subtle simplicity. One of my favorite reads today. And you have succeeded in exposing another poet to the work of Takamura.


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