Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011



Amelia Fielden
Canberra, Capital Territory, Australia

 

Time Passes

Nagatani . . .
my eager mind, my fond heart
no longer seek
the way to the house
by the bamboo grove

"What do you want with my wife's work?" "To translate it, please."

"Can you do that?" "Yes, I believe I can."

And so began my journey with a fascinating companion and no defined destination. Of our first stage, collaborating on her 1995 collection, Time Passes, Kawano Yuko wrote* :

lifting her eyes                                                      one by one
which had been fixed                                         my words are transformed
on my third tanka,                                              into English
she says "
ever                                                       with the gentle flexing
is better, more poetic"                                      of her pencilled letters

Standing in her dear cosmos garden as she farewelled me eleven years later, Yuko whispered, "Only a few more years, that's all I want . . ."

There were no more years, just a few more months.

though the grove
still rustles and talks
in her tanka,
the Nagatani Shrine gods
were deaf to her prayer


* In her book My Tanka Diary 1999—2000 (Australia: Ginninderra Press, 2006), translated by Amelia Fielden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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