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

淋しい幽霊いくつも壁を抜けるなり

So many lonely ghosts
Coming out of the walls

幽霊も鬱なるか傘さして立つ

Do ghosts get depressed too
Standing holding up umbrellas

これが君なるか払暁の泣き幽霊

Is that you
the ghost weeping
at dawn

東北やむかし出会ひし子持ち幽霊

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

葬列や数人仰ぐ渡り鳥

Funeral procession
Several people look up
Migratory birds

軍隊が近づき春は来たりけり

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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