iamagoatgirl: (goat girl)
(these translations don't fit the form, but the original japanese does)

Great sunset glow,
in the colour of the fire
that burned down our house.

(おゆやけ わがや やきたる ひ の いろ に)

-----

No escaping it:
I must step on fallen leaves
to take this path.

-----

I have stolen a man,
but never a thing of value.
I roll up the bamboo blind.

(ひと は ぬすめど もの は ぬすまず すだれ まく)

-----

April fool -
I do up my hair and go
nowhere.

-----

Firefly light.
I step off the path
of woman's virtue.
iamagoatgirl: (lovecraft & liars)
Things I want decided

Which shouldn't exist
in this world,
the one who forgets
or the one
who is forgotten?

Which is better,
to love
one who hs died,
or to not see
each other when you're alive?

Which is better,
the distant lover
you long for,
or the one you see daily
without desire?

Which is the least reliable
among fickle things --
the swift rapids,
a flowing river,
or this human world?

-----

Why haven't I
thought of it before?
This body,
remembering yours,
is the keepsake you left.

-----

If you have no time
to come, I'll go.
I want to learn the way
of writing poems
as a way to you.

-----

The dewdrop
on a bamboo leaf
stays longer than you
who vanish at dawn.

-----

Soon my life will close.
When I am beyond this world,
and have forgotten it,
let me remember only this:
one final meeting with you.
iamagoatgirl: (near far)
For my own reference.

-----

Is it forever
that he hopes our love will last?

He did not answer
And now my daylight thoughts
are as black and tangled as my hair.

by Lady Horikawa (early 13th century)

-----

So many secrets in this rain;
If folk should ask
what has wet my sleeves
what should I say?

by Lady Izumi Shikibu (978~unknown),
written for a man who came to visit her on a rainy night and had to return home because of the weather

-----

In this world
love has no color,
yet how deeply my body
is stained by yours.

by Lady Izumi Shikibu (978~unknown)

-----

Silver dewdrops,
Dreams, this fleeting world
And even illusions:
Were I to compare them to our love
They would seem eternal.

by Lady Izumi Shikibu (978~unknown)
sent to a man who had caused her nothing but grief


-----

As I dig for wild orchids
in the autumn fields,
it is the deeply-bedded root that I desire,
not the flower.

by Lady Izumi Shikibu (978~unknown)
judging by Lady Izumi's other poetry, i rather suspect this poem has more in common with contemporary Australian slang than one would think a thousand-year-old Japanese poem might...

-----

A world of grief and pain
flowers bloom
even then.

by Kobayashi Issa (1763~1828)
Issa had a real bummer of a life, with everyone he loved dying before him and his house burning down so he had to live in the storehouse after that (he also wrote, "Everything I touch / with tenderness, alas / pricks like a bramble," which is a bit less optimistic.)  This poem was written after the death of one of his children.


-----

Though I have no reason for regret,
upon hearing that you are headed to Shikasuga
I am not completely indifferent.

by Lady Akazome Emon
written on the occasion of the departure of someone she had no hope of ever seeing again
iamagoatgirl: (red hair)
Adrienne Rich died today, at 82, which is kind of sad in that the world lost a great poet - but since i've finally started reading Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age by Susan Jacoby i'm finding it difficult to be too upset (82 sounds like a pretty good age to make it to, and anything much longer would probably have been awful, especially with rheumatoid arthritis).  Eventually i will probably write a post about Never Say Die, but not yet.

A friend of mine posted this poem of Rich's, and i'm going to re-post it here, more for my own reference than anything else (though sharing it is a nice bonus), because it's great.

Power
by Adrienne Rich

Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

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