cross=of=wood by Jikkoku Osamu (き=の=じゅうじか / じっこくおさむ)

in a place like this
standing apart
a single cross=of=wood

no more will it blossom
the earth’s love
becomes unseen prayers

sometimes they flow over the top
and cover the stars
and cover the trees and stones

and when they fall
overwhelming grief returns
and alights like an eagle

こんな ところ に
き=の=じゅうじか が たって いる

もう めぶく こと の ない
だいち の あい は
みえぬ いのり と なって

ときおり その てっぺん から あふれでて
ほし を かくし
き や いし を かくし

それ が ちりつくすと
おおきい さびしさ が もどって きて
ワシ の ように とまる


Jikkoku Osamu, sometimes written Zikkoku Osamu (1915-1997), was a Japanese poet born in Shikoku. Many of his poems, like the one above, were written entirely in hiragana and katakana without the use of kanji.

From Modern Japanese Poetry: “His poetry career dates from 1936, when he was a contributor to Kitagawa Fuyuhiko’s Pan (Bread). From 1937 to 1946 he was a soldier and served in Manchuria and in Burma. After his demobilization he founded the magazine Shi Kenkyu (Poetry Research) . . . . He [had] a strong interest in the democritization of Japan and in the reform of the writing system; he experiment[ed] with composing poems in kana. He [was] an admirer of William Carlos Williams.”


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