5 Poems by Hagiwara Sakutaro (1886-1942) selected by Yuko Otomo

5 Poems by Hagiwara Sakutaro (1886-1942)                              selected by Yuko Otomo




There is a forest,

there is a marsh,

there is the azure,

on a man’ hand, feeling weight,

quietly a pure gold turtle sleeps,

bearing with the pain,

of this gleaming, lonely nature,

into a man’s soul gropingly it goes down,

into the depths of the azure the turtle goes down.


Dish of Skylarks

The evening agape I consecrate,

I will cense the candles with the melancholy of fish fat,

and out of longing open the green window.

A pity what a pity, looking at the sky,

with May flowing far, far in the distance,

I will hold a dish of skylarks in my hands

and out of longing proceed to your left.

A Frog’s Death



A frog was killed,

the children made a circle and raised their hands,

all together,

raised their lovely,

bloody hands,

the moon appeared,

on the hill stands a man.

Under his hat there is a face.



Sharply with cute granite teeth,

gritting on the green of grass, woman,


with this light blue grass ink,

let me paint your face, leaving no spot untouched,

to arouse your lust,

let us play secretly in a lush grass thicket,


here a bluebell is shaking his head,

there a gentian’s hand is moving pliantly,

ah I’ll hold your breasts tight,

you on your part push my body down with all your might,

and in this field without a soul,

let us play a serpentine game,

ah I on my part will pierce you through with love,

will on your beautiful skin, smear blue grass leaf juice.

The One Who’s in Love with Love



I painted rouge on my lips,

and kissed the trunk of a new birch,

even if I were a handsome man,

on my chest are no breasts like rubber balls,

from my skin raises no fragrance of fine-textured powder,

I am a wizened man of ill fate,

ah, what a pitiable man,

in today’s balmy early summer field,

in a stand of glistening trees,

I slipped on my waist something like a corset,

Smeared on my nape something like nape-powder,

thus hushed assuming a coquettish pose,

as young girls do,

I cocked my head a little,

and kissed the trunk of a new birch,

I painted rosy rouge on my lips,

and clang to a tall tree of snowy white.



* Google Hagiwara Sakutaro, one of the major figures who gave birth to the Japanese Free Verse Poetry in the early 20th century, to know more about him & his work.