Songs for Spirits 魂のうた

A selection of 59 tanka, 11 haiku and 3 English haibun by Kiyoko Ogawa (Taibowsha Corp., 2022). The haiku and tanka are given in both Japanese and English.
From the Preface: “There are some Japanese poets… not in favour of the idea that one poet writes both haiku and tanka… I myself would like to feel free… Sometimes I intend to compose a tanka, ending up by writing a haiku, and vice versa. I won’t mind if my flexibility is criticized.”
The five sections of the book are focussed, respectively, on the death of Kiyoko’s mother, journeys to Leipzig and Australia, rural scenes around Lake Biwa, and the transience of our ‘Floating World’. Highly recommended!
In Japan, ¥1,000 + p&p.  From abroad, US$ 10 incl. p&p. Enquiries/orders to: kiyoko66ogawa”at”

3 responses to “Songs for Spirits 魂のうた

  1. Here’s a haiku from the book:

    yellow daffodils
    in the colourless garden –
    panta rhei*

    * ‘Everything flows’ (aphorism of Heraclitus)

  2. The author of this anthology is a former student of mine at Hiroshima University. She was a good student but she impressed me more by her original works. I have always been under impression that she has a poetic talent which she should develop by more writing, Her new anthology contains not only waka and haiku but also some haibun. Her poems on her mother’s death are impressive avoiding sentimentality. However, I feel that waka is perhaps more suited than haiku to deal with a subject like this. What I enjoyed most is a piece of haibun called “The Lady of the Lagoon”.
    I have never been Australia, but I enjoyed the smell of the breeze across the lagoon carried by a Pacific wind.

    • I feel grateful that my venerate teacher Prof. Yuasa wrote a valuable comment on my humble book “Songs for Spirits”. It seems almost a miracle that such ‘small literature’ like haiku (hokku) and tanka (waka) could do a good job of connecting people transcending time and distance.
      Here goes Ryokan’s work he translated into English.

      Having met you thus
      For the first time in my life,
      I still cannot help
      Thinking it but a sweet dream
      Lasting yet in my dark heart.

      In this waka old Ryokan is addressing to his sweetheart Teishin the nun.

      Ryokan’s final and famous hokku is this:

      Maple leaves scatter
      At one moment gleaming bright,
      Darkened at the next.

      The Zen Poems of Ryokan (Princeton University Press, 1980)

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