River of Stars – Akiko Yosano

Left on the beach
Full of water
A worn out boat
Reflects the white sky —
Of early autumn.

Swifter than hail
Lighter than a feather,
A vague sorrow
Crossed my mind.

Feeling you nearby,
how could I not come
to walk beneath
this evening moon rising
over flowering fields.

It was only
the thin thread of a cloud,
almost transparent,
leading me along the way
like an ancient sacred song.

I say his poem,
propped against this frozen wall,
in the late evening,
as bitter autumn rain
continues to fall.
What I count on
is a white birch
that stands
where no human language
is ever heard.

A bird comes
delicately as a little girl
to bathe
in the shade of my tree
in an autumn puddle.

Even at nineteen,
I had come to realize
that violets fade,
spring waters soon run dry,
this life too is transient

He stood by the door,
calling through the evening
the name of my
sister who died last year
and how I pitied him!

Labor Pain – Akiko Yosano

I am sick today,
sick in my body,
eyes wide open, silent,
I lie on the bed of childbirth.

Why do I, so used to the nearness of death,
to pain and blood and screaming,
now uncontrollably tremble with dread?

A nice young doctor tried to comfort me,
and talked about the joy of giving birth.
Since I know better than he about this matter,
what good purpose can his prattle serve?

Knowledge is not reality.
Experience belongs to the past.
Let those who lack immediacy be silent.
Let observers be content to observe.

I am all alone,
totally, utterly, entirely on my own,
gnawing my lips, holding my body rigid,
waiting on inexorable fate.

There is only one truth.
I shall give birth to a child,
truth driving outward from my inwardness.
Neither good nor bad; real, no sham about it.

With the first labor pains,
suddenly the sun goes pale.
The indifferent world goes strangely calm.
I am alone.
It is alone I am.