Saturday, 28 March 2009


Yone Noguchi

Yone Noguchi, born -and known in JAPAN aS-Yonejiro Noguchi (野口米次郎 Noguchi Yonejirō, December 8, 1875 - July 13, 1947), was an influential writer of poetry, fiction, essays, and literary criticism in both English and Japanese.

It was in the darkest age of China that some poet declared, "To learn how to read is to learn how to be sad."

Autumn, -season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,
- is the book season of the year.

Here by a little hibachi, sipping tea ,the late Naofumi Ochiai's book of uta "Haginoya Kashu."

Dear, sad Haginoya!

How he loved the hagi flowers

How he sings of them--
Yes, the hagi it is,
The hagi is my life,
How could I forget
My own heart!

. . The modern poets may embrace a variety of rhythm and technical effects, and they may excel in descriptive song and external portraiture. But, alas, they lost the golden song of heart and love. Building of a composite period here in Japan.
Our song is growing quite idyllic.

Hear his simple muse--

From beyond the lake,
The temple bell is heard to-day too,
And the day, too,
Passes away.

Blown and blown and beaten
By the Autumn wind,
Yet the suzuki reed puts out its head,
-- Oh, how it is like me!

I push my sick body on
To the verandah, and I set
The butterfly free
From a spider's net.

Forgetting the floating world,
With thee, this day,
I gaze on
The white mountain cloud.

After the goddess of my dream
I [sought],
This morn:--
Lo, the lily white!

Are they the hair jewels
Forgotten by an angel,
At eve?
Oh, dews upon the hagi flowers!

Thou art ill,
I am too.
What misery, what misery
In this world where we have so much to do!

The Autumn night is deep:
Canst [thou] hear
The passion talk of the man-star
And woman-star met together?

He has been dead some ten years. His last uta is sad indeed:
O fall of leaves, I'll dream
On the last silence of thy passing way,
And sleep,
This night.

I find his sweet temperament and also his unspeakable sadness in the following poems:
I cannot think of them
As the Spring things:
Yea, how lonely and quiet
Are they, --those white wistaria!

So, wistaria
Like the Yellow cloud!
How longing
Toward the Lord Buddha!

And when I try to find his highest lyrical loftiness I read the following. They are of the real poetical creation according to our Japanese judgment, --the work which only the soul steeped in poetry could utter:--

Suppose the morning stars
Fall and break?
Do they sound
Like my own song?

I will sleep on Fuji's Mountain top,
And see whether my dream
Rise to the heavens,
Or fall to the earth.

In the midnight,
I awake, and think over the song:

Oh, am I not
The god?

As a cataract
It once has fallen,
And now it rises up,---
Lo, white mountain cloud!

What difference they show from the somewhat suffocated English poems! It is a delightful change to read after Keats and Tennyson. Any one who has such tenderness and fancy in heart, I should say, could appear as a genuine poet under any clime. It is a pity that such simple song is dying away in Japan.

Monday, 23 March 2009


Taneda Santöka Free style haiku, Santōka is often ranked along side Ozaki Hösai, a fellow student of Seisensui. They both suffered from the ill effects of their drinking habits and were similar in their reliance on Seisensui and other patrons of the arts for aid and support. The literary tone of their poems, however, differs .
Haiku excerpts from Hiroaki Sato’s translation of Santōka’s Grass and Tree Cairn

I go in still blue mountains
Wakeitte mo wakeitte mo aoi yama

Fluttering drunk leaves

horohoro yöte ki no ha chiru

Westerners like to conquer mountains;

Orientals like to contemplate them.

As for me, I like to taste the mountains.

Taneda Santooka 種田山頭火(1882-1940)a haiku nonconformist who cast aside all the rules including the 5-7-5 syllable structure, is also associated with Matsuyama. Santoka, an ordained Zen priest, after spending most of his life wandering all over the country as a begging monk, chose to settle in Matsuyama only to die 10 months later. The humble cottage where he dwelt -- Isso-an (A Blade of Grass Hermitage) is preserved north of Ehime University.His books and documents are also preserved in Shiki Memorial Museum.

Hōsai (尾崎 放哉) Ozaki Hoosai, Ozaki Hosai 20 January 1885 - 7 April 1926An alcoholic, Ozaki witnessed the birth of the modern free verse haiku movement. His verses are permeated with loneliness, most likely a result of the isolation, poverty and poor health of his final years.

I go in still blue mountains

Wakeitte mo wakeitte mo aoi yama

Fluttering drunk leaves

Horohoro yōte ki no ha chiru Haiku excerpts from Burton Watson’s translation For All My Walking

where the fire was
something blooming
yake-ato nani yara saite iru

feel of the needle
when at last
you get the thread through it
yatto ito ga tōtta hari no kanshoku

snow stopped
in the voices of children
the sun shines—

Sunday, 22 March 2009



Saturday, 14 March 2009


Vis e Ramin
"And, elsewhere, sudden arrows entered eyes
Like sleep that takes a warrior by surprise;
Like love, spears pierced through hearts, and like good sense
Axes split open heads and arguments.
It seemed that swords found out exactly where
God placed the soul with such abundant care,
And where men's flesh was opened by the blade
The soul fled through the gaping wound it made"

It was the first major Persian romance, written between 1050 and 1055 in rhyming couplets. This remarkable work has now been superbly translated into heroic couplets (the closest metrical equivalent of the Persian) by the poet and scholar Dick Davis. Vis and Ramin had immense influence on later Persian poetry and is very probably also the source for the tale of Tristan and Isolde, which first appeared in Europe about a century later. The plot, complex yet powerfully dramatic, revolves around royal marital customs unfamiliar to us today. Shahru, the married queen of Mah, refuses an offer of marriage from King Mobad of Marv but promises that if she bears a daughter she will give the child to him as a bride. She duly bears a daughter, Vis, who is brought up by a nurse in the company of Mobad’s younger brother Ramin. By the time Vis reaches the age of marriage, Shahru has forgotten her promise and instead weds her daughter to Vis’s older brother, Viru. The next day Mobads brother Zard arrives to demand the bride, and fighting breaks out, during which Vis’s father is killed. Mobad then bribes to hand Vis over to him. Mobad’s brother Ramin escorts Vis to her new husband and falls in love with her on the way. Vis has no love for and turns to her old nurse for help.... Told in language that is lush, sensual and highly inventive, Vis and Ramin is a masterpiece of psychological perceptiveness and characterization: Shahru is worldly and venal, the nurse resourceful and amoral (she will immediately remind Western readers of the nurse in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), Vis high-spirited and determined, Ramin impetuous and volatile. And the hopeless psychological situation of Vis’s husband, Mobad, flickers wearily from patience to self-assertion to fury and back again. The origins of Vis and Ramin, are obscure. The story dates from the time of the Parthians (who ruled Persia from the third century bce to the third century ce), and certainly existed in oral and perhaps written form before the eleventh century Persian poet Fakhraddin Gorgani composed the version

You’ve never truly slept with any man.

You’ve had no joy of men, you’ve never known

A man whom you could really call your own . . .

What use is beauty if it doesn’t bless

Your life with pleasure and love’s happiness?

You’re innocent, you’re in the dark about it,

You don’t know how forlorn life is without it.

Women were made for men, dear Vis, and you

Are not exempt, whatever you might do.

And to make quite sure that Vis knows what she is talking about, the nurse goes on to add:

God made us so that nothing’s lovelier than

What we as women feel when with a man,

And you don’t know how vehemently sweet

The pleasure is when men and women meet;

If you make love just once,

I know that then

You won’t hold back from doing so again.

This is a very hothouse world, and if the opportunities for pleasure are numerous and varied so are the opportunities for disgrace. Associated with the currency of one’s good name is the fairly frequent invocation of chivalry, especially by Ramin, as an ideal of behavior. An aspect of the poem that is perhaps startling at first, given the emphasis on courtly protocol, chivalry, and correct behavior, but which has clear parallels in Western medieval narratives that deal with the same kind of world, is the validation of adultery. The nurse’s admonitions to Vis, once her charge has realized she is married to someone for whom she feels no affection, are given with cynical insouciance:

The well-born women of the world delight

In marrying a courtier or a knight,

And some, who have a husband, also see

A special friend who’s sworn to secrecy;

She loves her husband, she embraces him,

And then her happy friend replaces him.

Friday, 6 March 2009


A grey cloud in the sky overhead,’


A grey cloud, in the sky overhead,
like a squirrel skin uncurled.
‘I’m not sorry your body,’ he said,
‘will melt in March, frail snow-girl!’

In the fluffy muff my hands grew cold.
I felt afraid, somehow confused.
How to recall the swift weeks’ flow,
his short-lived insubstantial love!

I don’t want bitterness or revenge,
let me die with the last snow-storm.
My fortune told of him at year’s end.
I was his before February was born.

The last snow -storm by Elaine Erig-oil on canvas -150- 150 cm -
New York-1994-award :the best paint of the year-
John Hultberg class

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Eight in the morning and this infernal heat,
sweaty- a cold shiver
In the middle of paints and brushes
over an order of finish, which has no end ...
A difficult week
A unpleasant host
walking like a snail
Cats restless, complaining , vomiting, peeing to expel the intruder .
Unsolved problems of inheritance,
my bags up.
Suddenly a torrential summer rain.

... and the place is not exotic.
As Mishima I have dreams of Bangkok.
In Out of Africa I am looking the savanha,
But I am here, in this gummy summer
like those who for years I spent in New York.
Only I am not there.
I am here.
In a place that is neither exotic or developed West
Full of beaches
Fuck you
I'm tired of this landscape

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Dimitris Lyacos

(was born in Athens in 1966. His trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: Exit, Nyctivoe,

The First Death) has been performed extensivelyacross Europe

and tThe English version is out from Shoestring Press, UK. and sculpture

installation of Nyctivoe opened in London and toured Europe

in 2004-2005. A contemporarydance performance based on the same

book is currently showing in .Z213: Exit (extract)Tell those who were

waiting not to wait none of us will return. The sky is leaving again,

the newspapers rot in the corridor,the same trees pass again but darker

before us, the people who wrench thdoors looking for a place,

those who are coming in at the next stop. The light from outside cutting

the evening in strips,harsh evenings that fall among strangers,the story

shatters within you, fragments,lost in the ebb of this time,

that dissolve one into the other before you fall asleep.And the snail hurries

to go back on its tracks, a tale you remember unfinished,

wrinkles thatstill hold a colour on memory’s transient seed,

birds that awake the dew on their wings and you set off with them
into the white frozen sky, but you wake and are baked again.
Not the fever,the remembrance of sorrow exhausts you,
you don’t know why, before you are well awake and the barren

feeling comes back to your hands,the rest suddenly vanishes,

you are one recollectiona broken box which is emptying,

after the tempest this calm, you search for support,

get up like an old man,feel cold, remember birds’ wings

magistrates’ sticks decorated with feathers the bones

of an angel, sink again images and words monotonous as prayer.

Translated from the Greek by Shorsha Sulliva


He spoke I will pursue I will overtake
I will glut my soul of the flesh the melted all

Saddle on bloodied wages
Covered them the whispering.

Before it it will be night let us chant to
In the giving

They fruit as the hoar frost on the ground
Barks of the hounds on the scent

Tree wihch when they had cast into the water
And it was made sweet
But left of it until the moornig. And
His bred worms and stank below the water line
Full bowls and they could not drink
And inelted all execpt one. And the bones under the sun like gypsan

And he set of out the desert

Passages and encamped there.
Grant us arms stretching out to the water
Gods which shall go belove us
skipwereck of the under the moutain