Monday, 15 April 2013

In Mourning for the Summer by Tachihara Michizō

Reading through some of the blogs that I follow and other places on the net, I couldn't help but notice that April is national poetry month, I'd have to admit that I've not looked very thoroughly into this, I was going to but then I remembered reading Simon Armitage, in his book All Points North, that on the occasion of national poetry day the first thing he did was leave the country and take his mother shopping in Reykjavik, I think it was - I read it many years ago, like him I usually find myself being slightly suspicious of national or international events like these. To know that somewhere April has been deemed to be poetry month is enough for me, but here is a poem that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently - In Mourning for the Summer by  Michizō Tachihara , 立原道造 , a collection of his poetry has appeared in English translation in Of Dawn, Of Dusk - The Poetry of   Michizō Tachihara, translated by Robert Epp and Iida Gakuji, published by Yakusha in 2001, I suppose you'd be fortunate if you find an affordable copy.

At the beginning of last month I couldn't help read this poem, although some of it's meanings derive from other times and aspects of it reference different events, I couldn't help from feeling that in parts it felt poignantly relevant. This poem can be found in the anthology From the Country of Eight Islands translated by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson.   

In Mourning for the Summer

My times that passed away
have turned my heart to gold. So as not to be wounded, so wounds
        may be cured soon,
between yesterday and tomorrow
a deep indigo gulf has been made.

What I tossed away
was a small piece of paper stained with tears.
Amid foamy white waves, one evening,
all, everything, vanished! Following the story line

then I became a traveller and passed many
villages on the moonlit capes, many
hot, dry fields.

If I could remember! I'd like to return once again.
Where? To that place (I have a memory of,
that I waited for and quietly gave up -)

Michizō Tachihara at Ginza via Wikkicommons


Rurousha said...

It's poetry month? I didn't know that either, and I call myself an OCD reader!

PS: What a great excuse to buy another poetry book. Thanks! :)

me. said...

This Thursday, (18th) is Poem in your Pocket day too -

Agreed, I don't need too much of a nudge to buy/read a poem.

A little further probing on the net comes the discovery that The Haiku Foundation have National Haiku Poetry Day which is held on April 17th, which could be today for you or perhaps tomorrow, depending on time zone!.

@parridhlantern said...

To me NPM is purely another way to promote pomes & to counter the nationalism I post on my Pomesallsizes twitter feed poetry from all over the world.Not that I need much excuse with the promotion but any added is more out there.

me. said...

This is the first year that I've heard about NPM, so many thanks for posting on it.

Any event that perhaps inspires people who may not have read poetry before to read some is a good thing.

I'm wondering now if Japan has a national poetry day, unless perhaps that I'm missing something obvious.

At the moment I'm reading Joseph Brodsky's So Forth - Poems, there are so many more poets I want to read.