The CHIEKO Poems

by Φ

Some of The CHIEKO Poems, by Takamura Kotaro

Same Life Same Kind

–With mouth closed, I handle clay.
–With a clack, Chieko weaves her loom.
–A mouse tries to take a fallen peanut.
–A sparrow snatches it away.
–A praying mantis sharpens its sickles on the clothes line.
–A fly-catching spider does a triple jump.
–A hanging towel plays on its own.
–A parcel falls with a crash.
–A clock naps.
–An iron kettle also naps.
–A rose mallow lolls like a tongue.
–A small earthquake shakes.
Accompanied by cicadas,
above this group of same life same kind,
a great orb of fire shines down
brilliant and headlong over the meridian.

August, 1928

One Evening

A fire burns in the gas hearth,
oolong tea, wind, slender evening moon.

—That, that’s the world.
The honesty they desire is a dress uniform,
adding artificiality to nature,
a pose standing at attention.
Thy have lost their hearts in the confusion of the world,
slef-knowing hearts that once were naked—
You see this but don’t think it’s strange.
That’s the world,
a bunch of cruel detestable people
embracing great worldly desire in their hearts,
staring only just in front of themselves,
and so the person who tries to live in truth
–from long ago, even now, and ever after—
is instead made to appear insincere,
is eprsecuted as you were.
The cowardly
and insincere
look at us at first with voices of wonder
then sing all abuse to pass the time.
The insincere just meddle in events
and disregard the people concerned.
The world is comtemptibility,
such a whilrpool’s insignificant person is shameful.
Doing what we should do,
advancing on the road we shoudl advance on,
respecting the laws of nature,
we must reach a state in which our daily thoughts
do not deviate from nature’s laws.
The best power only comes from believing in ourselves.
Don’t be surprised by their ugly form, like frogs,
rather see in their form a grotesque beauty.
Just savor our loving hearts.
Tear up all entanglements.
We must live in nature and freedom
like the blowing of the wind, like the flying of the clouds.
It’s good if there’s no falseness
in natural laws, inner needs, and wise promptings.
Nature is wise.
Nature is prudent.
Don’t be distressed by those half wits.
Ah, let’s eat a simple meal in Ginza again.

October, 1912

In Adoration of Love

Unfathomable passion
is the frightful power of rising tides—
In a sweaty fire still blazing up
salamanders dance here and there.

In deep night, ceaseless snow gives a vol nuptial feast
and cries out for joy in lonely air.
We crush the world with beautiful power.
We immerse our bodies in mysterious flow,
breathe an aroused rosy mist
reflecting off jewels of Indra’s net.
We mold our lives infinitely.

The magic power of a cradle hidden in winter and
the living heat of sprouts sprouting in winter and–
all that burns within pulses together with pulsing “Time,”
our whole bodies humming with rapture’s electric current.

Our skin awakens fiercely.
Our insides writhe with the joy of existence.
our hair radiates phosphorescent.
Our fingers find a life of their own and search over our bodies.
The true world of chaos hiding words
swiftly shows its form above us.
Full of light,
full of happiness.
All distinctions revolve in a single sound.
Poison and nectar share the same basket.
Unbearable pain contorts our bodies.
Extreme rapture illuminates a wondrous maze.

We are buried warm in snow.
We melt into the elements.
We devour endless earthly love
and exalt our lives far away.

February, 1914

Lemon Dirge

You longed so for a lemon
on your sad, white, bright deathbed.
Your pretty teeth crunched
the lemon you took from my hands.
An aroma the color of topaz arose.
Those few dew drops from heaven
suddenly brought back your mind.
Your blue-bright eyes smiled dimly.
You squeezed my hand so tight.
In your throat a storm raged,
but at the brunk of this life
you became the Chieko of old.
All of life’s love
leaned into an instant,
and then once
as you did long ago on a mountaintop,
you drew a deep breath,
and your engine stopped.
Today in the shadow of cherry blossoms
before your photograph
I place a cool, bright lemon.

February, 1939


Sculpture, oil painting, poetry, prose,
the more I did, the more I sponged.
I rejected a campaign for bronze statues,
rejected a job teaching school,
rejected meetings for marriage proposals.
So waht should we do?
The child is so difficult.
That’s what the relatives clamor about.
While nursing liqueur in the Stork’s Nest at Yoroi Bridge
I was drunk as if indifferent,
drank as if drunk.
I had absolutely nowhere to go.
People were amused and said, “He’s decadent,”
but I never knew such a painful awakening of conscience.
My youth came late.

I fell more into depths,
filly conscious I fell.
If I had ties to Catholicism
I would have surely appealed to the cross.
Rather than the cross,
like a miracle,
Chieko appeared before this worthless fellow.

June, 1947