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  THE WAIL OF GAEA
Fujio Tachibana
 
   
  FOREWORD

Arrogance and Shadow of Roses:
The World of Fujio's Tanka

roses are cool and
valiant in winter
I love the haughtiness of
summer roses that blossom
in shorter, more brilliant lives

The above tanka poem declares an attitude toward life that refuses to accept the happiness of daily life. Each of Fujio's poems carries with it a kind of danger and distress as well as intellect and strong emotion. Such distress and danger, however, are necessary for a woman to cultivate in order to live alone and to refuse the least bit of happiness of daily life. In doing so, she refuses the normal hypocrisy of ordinary life.

The superior qualitative feature of Fujio's poems is the hope to live not the cool and valiant bed of the winter rose but in the shorter, more brilliant life of the summer rose. I have never read Fujio's poems without thinking of the paintings of Henri Rousseau. Rousseau drew plentiful primary color pictures of such tropical animals as panthers or lions to contrast their faces against a tropical rain forest. In spite of such plentiful primary colors, I feel the shadow of a kind of peculiar sadness in Rousseau's paintings. I feel the same sadness in the plentiful primary colors of Fujio's tanka poems.

"Tanka is the wail of my soul." Fujio states in one of her poems, and this presents the attitude of living in the arrogance of roses, refusing a life of peace and happiness. It also represents the shadow of a pure sadness as well. Widely different from the snugly united tanka poems, Fujio's tanka poems devotedly continue to pursue the arrogance of roses, and at the risk of her life, to involve a kind of danger and distress. Fujio has a natural talent to compose tanka poems.

Akiko Ishimaru
Professor of 
Japanese Literature
Tokyo 
Keizai University

 


   

have you seen

the cerulean tears

seething in the eyes

of the horse charging

toward the sun?

nichirin wo
oiyuku uma no
me ni tagiru
aoki namida wo
anata wa mitak

 

shall I take off

the heavy evening gown

called Love and

wrap my naked self

in a shawl of mist?

ai to iu
omotaki doresu wo
nugi sutete
kiri no sh˘ru wo
rashin ni matou

 

 

warm winter sunlight

spreads over me

like a veil of silk and

calms this agitation weighing

so heavily on my mind

sasakururu
ware no kokoro wo
tsutsumu goto
t˘hi wa kinu no
bŕru wo hirogu

 

 

the silver-colored peak

painted on the canvas

makes my eyes smart

recalling the snow

of Mount Kilimanjaro

kanbasu no
mine no shirogane
me ni shimuru
kirimanjaro no
yuki omowasete

 

 

the celadon porcelain jar

that was cracked

I break asunder

with all my might just as

burying my past days

hibi no iru
seiji no tsubo wa
omoikiri
futatsu ni waran
kako sutsuru goto

 

 

the moment I picked the

fruit offered by the snake

I came out of a dream

alas, I am also a woman

named Eve

hebi no obiku
ki no mi wo tsumu ya
yume samenu
ibu to iu na no
m˘hitori no ware

THE WAIL OF GAEA 

[A Linked Verse]

 

"and then?"

you asked me

gazing at the dying

fire of the candle

resting on the table

sorekara to
anata wa tazunu
takuj˘ no
ima ni mo kiyuru
kyandoru mitsutsu

 

"like the nature

of passion

never tiring of eating,

is another virgin forest

going to be cleared?"

airen no
hoshii mama naru
saga no yoni
hirakarete yuku
aoki shojorin

 

closing our faces

to the clouds of

hanging black grapes

you and I desired

a licentious affair

kuroguro to
taruru bud˘ ni
omo yosete
midaranaru ai wo
horitaru warera

 

fumbling for each other

we drowned in our passion

before falling away

beneath the sky

of brilliant night

tesaguri de
motome ai tsutsu
manten no
hoshifuru yoru wo
ochitaru warera

 

God, who gave people leave

to march off to war,

also gave them leave

to cut down

the firewood of passion

senso wo
yuruseshi kami wa
aiyoku no
takigi kareru wo
korehodo yuruseri

 

the mountain surface

was cleared exposing

red clay soon to

be bleached from

the sunlight's lashing rays

hirakarete
akatsuchi sarasu
yamahada wa
muchi mote uteru
hi ni tadare yuku

 

standing firmly

on the earth that is

about to be spoiled

I try to touch

the creaking of time

itami taru
daichi fumi tsutsu
ima shi ware
toki no kishimi ni
furen to surumo

 

people,

scanning Gaea,

turn their faces away

saying it has nothing

to do with them

hito wa mina
kakawari naki to
me wo somuku
okasare yukeru
gaia wo minagara

 

on the barren land

named Love

the naked season

comes round

and tries to bud

ai to iu
fum˘ naru chi ni
mahadaka no
kisetsu wa meguri
mebukan to suru

 

can't you hear the wail

of Gaea drifting,

longing for the forest

where the leaves rustle

in the wind?

kaze wataru
jurin motomete
uneri yuku
gaia no sakebi ga
kikoe wa senuka

 

 

 

two fireflies

pushed the door

of darkness open

and crossed the way

in front of me

waga mae no
yami no tobira wo
oshiakete
hotaru futatsu ga
yogirite yukeri

 

how lonely are

my tears that

are sucked into

the fathomless

abyss of night

nubatama no
yoru no fukasa ni
suware yuku
tsukisenu ware no
namida no shitatar

 

I used to envy

my sister so much

she looked so beautiful

under the wisteria trellis

against the purple flowers

fujidana no
shita nite ware wa
murasaki no
hana ni haetaru
imo wo nikumiki

 

through the faintly lit

window of the night

two figures appear

and merge as one

for a long time

ussura to
hi tomoseru mado ni
utsuritaru
hitokage futatsu
nagaku yorisou

 

at midday in the field

all kinds of flowers abound

but the white lilies bloom

nobly and elegantly

not mixing with the other

mahiru no wa
momo kusa sakite
aya nasedo
somade kedakaki
shirayuri no hana

 

the small yellow butterfly,

which is flying so low that

I take it for a dandelion,

looks so enervated

in the winter

tanpopo to
migamau hodo ni
hikuku mau
chisaki kich˘ no
fuyu no kutabire

 

like a tapir

I have survived by

avidly eating my dream

even though I knew

it was an unfinished dream

baku no goto
yume wo hami tsutsu
kishi ware ka
mihatenu yume to
t˘ ni shiri nishi wo

 

oh, today was

another long day; sitting

in front of the mirror

at night I throw off

my mask of strength

hitohi oe
yoru no kagami ni
mamukaete
kij˘ ni misetaru
kamen wo hazusu

 

the crimson canna

boasts brilliantly

at midday of summer

and laughs scornfully

at me sulking in summer

saki sakaru
akaki kanna ga
natsu mahiru
natsu wo sunetaru
a wo azawarau

 

each day passes as quickly

as the wink of a moment

again I am left with many

regrets as yet another

year draws to a close

mabataki no
isshun no goto
hibi sugite
kui nomi nokoshi
toshi kurento su

 

 

ROSES, YOU MUST BE

[A Linked Verse]

 

clusters of all blooming roses

boast petals within petals

close inspection reveals

the mystery of each petal's

inscrutable face

shinku naru
bara no hanabira
ikue nimo
makarete aredo
hitoiro narazu

 

on a narrow lane

clusters of blooming

scarlet roses study me

with piercing god-like eyes

as if they read my soul

kayoiji ni
sakeru hibara wa
waga kokoro
misukasu gotoku
ware wo iru nari

 

roses are cool and

valiant in winter

I love the haughtiness of

summer roses that blossom

in shorter, more brilliant lives

fuyu bara no
ririshisa yori mo
natsu bara no
horobiyuku ma no
ogori wo ai su

 

last night's dream

found me in the rose garden

surrounded with no way out

I madly scattered red roses

petal after petal to the wind

deguchi naki
bara no sonofu ni
mayoi iru
yume nite ware wa
hibara wo chirasu

 

each summer goes by

reminding me of how I love

the strong boasting rose more

than the fragile China pink

that is miserable at heart

yarusenaki
sekichiku yori mo
ogoritaru
bara wo medetsutsu
ichige sugi yuku

 

yellow roses, you

must be yellow forever

and red roses,

you must be red, red,

red to the death

ki no bara wa
akumade ki de are
hi no bara wa
akumade hi de are
kuchihatsuru made

 

 

 

"knowledge is the sail

thought is the wind and

human beings are ships";

if this is so, I am but

a boat on the ocean

chishiki wa ho
shis˘ wa kaze
hito wa fune
naraba taikai no
kobune zo ware wa

 

in the dead of night

when I think of you

the fragrance of white orchids

begins to hang in the air and

covers me softly

sayo fukete
hito wo omoeba
byakuran no
kaori honoka ni
ware wo tsutsu meri

 

though the salvias

at the bottom of my memory

grow fainter each year,

their vivid vermilion color rises

unexpectedly and stands before me

usure yuku
kioku ni sakeru
sarubia no
ake saezae to
ima yomigaeru

 

even though we are betrayed

over and over again

we want to trust people;

how pitiful we

human beings are

uragirare
uragirare temo
shinjitashi
hito no kokoro wa
kaku kanashi kari

 

I know not from where

yet I hear the sound

of honking wild ducks

on this calm winter afternoon

at the Tega-Marsh

fuyu no hi no
shizukanaru gogo no
teganuma ni
izuko tomo naku
kamo naku kikoyu

 

I put white lilies in the vase

on the top of your desk

without telling my love

for you which is growing

stronger year after year

toshigoto ni
fukamaru omoi
tsugezu shite
kimi ga tsukue ni
shirayuri wo iku

 

in the early spring

a multitude of blooming

pale purple violets

cover the bosom

of the Mountain Tsukuba

haru asaki
tsukuba no yama no
futokoro ni
usu murasaki no
sumire mure saku

 

when I reflect to myself

"to be or not to be"

in the darkness of the night

the gold eyes of the black

cat glare back

sei ka shi ka
hitori gochi iru
kurayami ni
kuroneko no me no
kin iro ni hikaru

 

hometown is a place

we think of when

we are away; the older

we grow the truer

this saying becomes

furusato wa
t˘ku ni arite
omou mono
toshi furu goto ni
sono kan maseri

 

softly breathe

upon my ear lobes

your sweet breaths

fermenting both

my soul and body

yawarakaku
jida ni fukikake
rareshi iki
ware to wagami wo
hakk˘ sasenu

 

when the pussy willows

had just begun to swell

at the river side of Shinano-Ji

you kissed me for the first time

on that flaring morning

neko yanagi
fukurami somuru
shinanoji no
mabayuki asa ni
kuchizuke wo uku

 

I wonder why

people believe

that Cinderella

lived happily

ever after

shinderera ga
totsugite nochi wa
shiawase to
mina omou noga
fushigide naranu

 

while burning

the old letters

I watch one face

appear and disappear

on the tongue of a flame

furuki tegami
takisute ni keri
homura naka
ukabi tewa kiyuru
ichinin no kao

 

something is about

to crash in my heart

just as spring starts

to walk away without

the sound of footsteps

waga uchi ni
kuzure yuku mono
hitotsu ari
aoto tatezu ni
haru yukanto su

 

when I close my eyes

I hear the sound of

the red camellias falling

to the shining snow in the

garden of my hometown

me tsumure ba
kokyo no niwa ni
yuki moe te
akaki tsubaki ga
koboruru kikoyu

 

I desire to surrender

myself to an earnest amour

just as cherry blossoms

gracefully scatter to the wind

at their peak of glory

isagiyoku
chiran ga tame ni
hana wa saku
oboruru ai wo
shirazari ware wa

 

with red wine

I wet my thirsty throat

and the more I drink

the greater is my deep

desire for passion

kawaki taru
nomido wain ni
hitashi tsutsu
kokoro ni fukaku
airen wo horu

 

 

at the bottom of the amber

glass from which I drink alone

I see my attachment to

the memory that stagnates

but can never be

kaerazaru
omoide ni yoi
hitori tsugu
kohaku no soko ni
miren ga yodomu

 

WINTER'S WOODS

[A linked Verse]

 

what an attractive

trap; when I sleep

for a spell you

appear and tempt me

into the woods

utsukushiki
wana yamo shirenu
madoromeba
nare no tachikite
mori he to sasou

 

it is winter again

and in the depths

of remembrance

it smells of the taste

of honey

ikutabi no
fuyu meguri kinu
tsuioku no
mori no okuga wa
mitsu no nioi su

 

I see the embers

of love flickering

in the belly of the woods

where trees are covered

in hoarfrost

juhy˘ saku
mori no okuga ni
ima mo nao
ai no moesashi
yuragu ga miyuru

 

you keep beckoning

me, so I continue

walking; I hear you

but never, nowhere

do I find you

omohoezu
nare no temaneku
kokochi shite
yukedo yukedo mo
sugata wa miezu

 

when we learned

the ardor of love

the two of us burned

in a flaming passion

burned away

hi no gotoku
moete shinan to
omoi niki
ai no shigeki wo
shiri someshi koro

 

seeing intimacy

in fleeting love amoral

we ran from

the prison of ourselves

named Loneliness

karisome no
koi to shiri tsutsu
sabishisa to
iu r˘goku wo
nogareshi warera

 

you, a boy who wished

to become a bird and

fly freely in the sky,

became a man after all

and died in winter's wood

tobu tori ni
naritaki sh˘nen
nare naru ni
otoko to nari te
mori ni shini tari

 

it was then I felt

I had known

from the womb

the vanity of life

the emptiness of sex

taiji nite
arishi toki yori
sei to sei no
munashisa shiri shi
ware to omoi ki

 

people, who looked

on your so young death

as beautiful,

still ask, why did he

end his life?

nare yo nare
naze ni yukishi ka
wakaki shi wo
hito wa itamite
utsukushi to iedo

 

I ask myself,

which is more painful,

the agony of the moment

when one kills one's self or

the agony of a whole life lived?

inochi tatsu
tamayura hodono
kurushimi to
hitoyo no kumon to
izure ka masaru

 

 

 

the red-colored

pollen that drops from

the white lilies

are like the broken

pieces of my memory

omoide no
kakera to iwame
shirayuri wa
kurenai iro no
kafun wo kobosu

 

Poe utters, "reality is a vision,

a night dream is real";

reality lies, like the rose

with its brilliant

but poisonous thorns

utsushiyo wa
yume yoru no yume
koso makoto
po no hakitaru
bara no y˘naru uso

 

while combing

my hair at midnight

I think of one sorrow

even more deeply embedded

than it was a year ago

yo no kami wo
suki tsutsu omou
kozo yori mo
fukaku shizuka naru
kanashimi hitotsu

my sorrow hides

as transparent as water

and so deep within my soul

that I fail to scoop it up

into the palms of my hands

sukitoru
hodo ni kiwamuru
kanashimi wo
sukui atsumen
morote no naka ni

 

loneliness must be

like this; I wake up

aching with a sharp pain

remembering the wound that

I try valiantly to forget

sekiry˘ towa
kakunaru mono ka
wasuretaki
kizu no uzuku ni
futo mezame tari

 

it must be an oasis

in my dream;

fragmentary autumn

thoughts spring endlessly

from my breast

waga yume no
oashisu naran
yobukaki ni
itodo waki kuru
aki no dans˘

 

the more I consider

Descartes's words,

"I think, therefore I am,"

the truer and more profound

his words become

ware omou
yue ni ware ari
nikuki made
iiete my˘ naru
dekaruto no kotoba

 

when I look back

on the path I have walked

I see the regrets

all lumped together and

outlined in deep black

furimuke ba
waga d˘tei ni
o wo hikeru
kui no ikkai
kuroguro to miyu

 

when I face

a looking glass,

cruel and serene, I see

a deep desolate sea

reflecting my inner spirit

masumitaru
kagami ni muke ba
sabisabi to
waga munasoko no
umi no utsureri

 

sinking into the murky

darkness of night

my body and soul melt

and flow down to the bottom

of consciousness

shikkoku no
yami ni shizumeba
mi mo tama mo
tokete yukunari
ishiki no soko ni

 

I see the camellia

in my dream over and

over yet only abstract

I wonder, is the flower

white or black?

ima mo nao
yume ni idekuru
chush˘ no
tsubaki wa shiro ka
soretomo kuro ka

 

my eyes smart at the

onslaught of scarlet-colored

flowers that I loathe turning

from them I stand transfixed

by the black dahlias

me ni shimuru
hana no akaki wo
itou ni ya
kuroki daria ni
tsukareshi goto tatsu

 

I sink myself

into the darkness

of the night

as the stifling scent of

lilies permeates the air

yo no yami ni
hitori suware ba
kuruoshiki
yuri no kaori ni
tsutsumare ni keri

 

in the scorching

heat of high noon

though I walk searching

for one word, it seems like

all poems and songs would die

shi mo uta mo
karuru ga hodo no
hizakari wo
kotonoha hitotsu
hori tsutsu ayumu

 

dizzy from the bright

sun at mid-day

while walking down

the street I feel as if

I were naked

wake mo naku
rashin wo sarasu
kokochi shite
mahiru no machi wo
yuki tsutsu memai su

 

love and hatred burn

like a flame in the deepest

core of my being

causing me to bathe

in the middle of the day

mi no shin wo
yaku ga gotoku ni
homura datsu
aiz˘ ariya
hiru no yuami su

 

whether dream or reality

I do not know ľ the moment

I fall into sleep ľ yet it is so

pleasant that I love this

moment more than anything

utsutsu tomo
yume tomo tsukanu
kokochi shite
nemuri ni otsuru
setsuna wo ai su

 

"birth is but one step

toward death";

these words that

I happened to come across

sound so heavy

tanjo
sore wa shi no ippo
futo meni shi
kotoba ga my˘ ni
omotaku hibiku

 

all the time gone by

of regret, grief, and sorrow

I want to wash clean away

the regret, grief, sorrow

in the river of Lethe

yukishi hi no
kui mo nageki mo
kanashimi mo
nabete nagasan
rete no kawa he

 

in my dream I see

the adder's tongue lily

its lovely head bent

the flower shudders and sways

in dejection and distress

utsumukite
sakeru katakago
waga yume ni
tachite yure ori
setsunaki made ni

 

while sleeping for a spell

I had one heavy cluster of

wisteria having weighed

the flowers in the palms

of my small hands

madoromi no
nakanite ware wa
ito omoki
fuji no hitofusa
te ni tashikame nu

 

while making

my way home

on a moon-lit night

a white cat lashes across

my dark path ignoring me

gekk˘ ni
terasare kaeru
waga mae wo
shiranu furi shite
shironeko yogiru

 

as if disclosing

my secret lover

the wind begins to

blow upon my blazing

nape ticklishly

himegoto wo
abaku ga gotoku
kaze tachi te
atsuki unaji ni
kosobayuku fuku

 

how envious I am

it is a sin and when

I lay myself down under

the lamplight pale tears

suddenly well up in my eyes

hito netamu
tsumibukaki mi wo
hi no moto ni
sukaseba aoki
namida no nagaru

 

in the midst

of a pile of dead leaves

a group of winter

dandelions light

up a dreary place

kareha shiku
z˘ki bayashi no
hi damari ni
hitomura ki naru
fuyu no tanpopo

 

in the garden

all the flowers and trees

are dead except for

the hearty yellow roses

fixing my soul like magic

mono mina no
sugareshi niwa ni
ki no bara no
aeka ni sakite
waga tama sasou

 

what a faded picture

it is yet mother

so young, so beautiful

in the photograph and

what shiny hair she has!

iro useshi
utsushie naredo
urawakaki
haha no migushi wa
tsuyayaka ni shite

 

on the morning

of my brother's death

the crows were cawing

even now mother loathes

the eerie cry of the crows

ani no yuku
asa ni nakitaru
karasu no koe
kikeba imada ni
haha wa keno su

 

when I was a child

my aunt reared me in place

of my ailing mother;

now my aunt is insane and

plays with the sparrows

osana ware wo
haha ni kawarite
hagukumi shi
oba wa kuruite
suzume to asobu

 

during the days

when I did not afraid

of death I remember

the blooming camellias

flushed in deep scarlet

imada shi wo
osore zaru hi ni
sakite ishi
tsubaki no hana no
kurenai no iro

 

while looking at

the black dahlia

I imagine that

I die wishing evil to

all human beings

kuroki daria
mitsumete oreba
hito no yo wo
noroite shinitaki
sakkaku zo waku

 

WINTER BUTTERFLY

[A linked Verse]

 

feeling each other out

while playing

cat's cradle

we created a butterfly

for the spring field

saguriau
kokoro to kokoro no
ayatori ni
aretaru cho wo
nobe ni hanatan

 

the butterfly's dream,

while sleeping for a spell

with its folded pale

green wings, begin to

be bathed in tears

usuaoki
hane wo subome te
nemuri iru
koch˘ no yume wa
shigurete yukeri

 

the butterfly,

my butterfly, with torn

wings is fluttering

over a sea of leaves

in the frozen night

nemuri naki
yoru no jukai wo
samayoeru
hane chigirare shi
watashi no itech˘

 

in search of a dream

the visionary butterfly

flutters about

before the dark glacial

epoch of my sight

hyoga naru
kuraki kubomi wo
mai yukeru
hitohira no ch˘
maboroshi no ch˘

 

the butterfly falls down

to the belly of the night

which is amber and

slimy like honey, then

it wriggles and dies

mitsu no goto
kohaku ni numeru
yo no tai ni
ochite agakite
cho wa shini tari

 

leaning against

the wind howling

over the savanna

you say, "the bird that

was shot should die"

utaretaru
tori shinu beki to
kimi wa iu
sabanna wataru
kaze ni motarete

 

unfolding the petals of

the rose half bloomed

I am looking at the moth

that is being broiled

by the night light

gobu zaki no
bara no hanabira
hodoki tsutsu
hi ni aburaruru
yoga wo mite iru

 

the mellow winter

sun shimmers on the lake

and one sea gull

flies overhead;

what a solitary scene!

fuyu no hi no
kagero umi ni
yurikamome
hitotsu maeru wa
tada ni kanashiki

 

the poinsettia

in my chamber

refuses to turn red and

smiles gleefully as though

a conspiracy were afoot

iro zukanu
poinsechia wa
takurami wo
moteru ga gotoku
waga heya ni emu

 

like Gauguin

and Cezanne

all human beings draw

the soul that has both

quietness and liveliness

hito wa mina
sei to d˘ to no
tama egaku
toki ni sezannu
toki ni g˘gan

 

I cannot get over

Serina's words which

I meditate on again and again:

"everyone has a chance

if they prepare for it"

wasurare nu
serina no kotoba
kamishimenu
chansu wa kuru
junbi sareta hito ni

THE WAIL OF GAEA
Fujio Tachibana

   
   
  THE WAIL OF GAEA
by Fujio Tachibana
yinoue@uog9.uog.edu

Copyright ę Yukiko Inoue 2000.

AHA Books Online
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