Ghosts Weeping at Dawn: Poems by Yamakawa Semio (山川蟬夫)


So many lonely ghosts
Coming out of the walls


Do ghosts get depressed too
Standing holding up umbrellas


Is that you
the ghost weeping
at dawn


In Tohoku —
Long ago I chanced to meet
a ghost with children


Funeral procession
Several people look up
Migratory birds


The army approaches
Spring has arrived

NOTES: Yamakawa Semio was the pen-name of Takayanagi Shigenobu (1923-1983), used when he wrote haiku in vertical lines, according to this essay, which discusses the recurring ghosts in his poetry. The first four poems in this selection are taken from the same essay. The remaining poems are taken from the Gendai Haiku Association Database.


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