Showing posts from January, 2020
Book Review
from Japanese magazines in English

● Tokyo Poetry Journal Vol. 9
   Book Review of Yoko Danno's works

● Kyoto Journal Issue 96    Book Review of On Lost Sheep (poetry translation by Goro Takano) by Taylor    Mignon
Today's poem

- Night crept up on them - Sappho - 
At night the calmness embraces readers with warmness in the poem. Although there have been thousands of poems written with a theme of sleep and the poem belongs to the category of Ages 14-16 in Poetry Archive, it brings fresh impressions to adult readers, too. Fine devices (variation in number of lines, enjambment, etc. & etc.) stay in details of the poem.
Please read it aloud, recite it before hearing footsteps of sleep, sitting at the gate of a dream, far-off world.

Sleep by Ella Duffy
(from Poetry Archive)

is stillness paused in stone,
the bronze cast of a posed god,
Eros, whose face, limbs,
have softened to childhood.

It is the breath before prayer,
a window staining its church
with sacred light; or secular,
a cashpoint glowing
in a late night precinct.

Sleep is air, the secrecy
of a barn owl in flight;
her pale pulse. It is the last gasp
of smoke from a candle, blown
for a wish; a seed puffed
Today's poem

The title of the poem might intimate omens based on the coming of spring and swallows that the poet confronted. Splendid ambiguity in "The well rising without sound" as the first line in the first stanza and "thunderous examples" (spiritual and essential, I suppose) at the third line in the third stanza, making for a mysterious universe. With perfect and slant rhyming in the first stanza, a firm truth seems to be present. Then, readers can find rhythmic patterns in birds' airy dancing in the second stanza. However, the real world has been full of chaos where his feet were placed: inexplicable.

The Well Rising by William Stafford
  (from the website of Poetry Foundation)
The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field一

The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer一

The swallow heart from wingbeat to wingbeat
Today's poem

Break, blow Anglo-Saxson poetry, or develop, expand - the phrase shows my impression of the poem 'The Wanderer' by W. H. Auden. Auden's poems attract me with his cosmopolitanism and masculine tone. The following poem draws on the Old English verse 'The Wanderer'. Auden's begins with the opening line "Doom is dark and deeper ..." including a typical alliteration effect accompanying stronger beats and kennings such as "places for fishes". The poem concludes with a broken-syntax line "Lucky with day approaching ...". Unlike the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, Auden might presume his return home in the poem. Similar but different from the Japanese poet Mitsuharu Kaneko (金子 光晴) with the decadent atmosphere.

The Wanderer by W. H. Auden
 (from the Internet Archive)

Doom is dark and deeper than any sea-dingle.
Upon what man it fall
In spring, day-wishing flowers appearing,
Avalanche sliding, white snow from rock-face,
That he shou…
Today's poem

Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) was an English poet and farmer. He wrote a long piece of work comprising simple rhyming couplets entitled Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie). Last December I read stanzas (42-45) of Christmas, enjoyed them, and knew the year-round agricultural manners in his community in the 16th century from his work. In a part of January, there's a preparation for spring. I recall verses on farming such as a poem ‘After Apple-Picking' byRobert Frost, a sequence of haikus ‘The Organic Farming Calendar’ by Hilary Menos, and Kenji Miyazawa (宮沢 賢治).  
Selected Poems ¶ Thomas Tusser (fromProject Gutenberg)
46. When Christmas is d