Katoh Ikuya: Selections from Spherical Sense (1959)

Mirage Festival			Festival in a Coastal Town
(Note: Alternate readings appear to the right in italics)


Winter waves
Come to the winter pier
And are returned

Thought of two poems
About flowers
That do not mention flowers

Sunday on which
I do not go to pray
Choosing seeds instead

June -
Now the crane prays
For its own dead

Sand spills
From July’s

Convolvulus noon face
Still visible after noon –

Awaiting each bird
To the treetops
At sunset

At night
A spotted dove flashes
Like a firefly


Seeing a withered tree	
All things seem
As if absent

Memory of sand
On an autumn day

A bird passes
Through an idea
Slanting northward

Furnace lit –
Like being inside
A Mediterranean bowl


Winter trees standing
Yet they are counted

Pool of light
On winter castle wall	
No castle

Whistling wind			Tiger-wind-flute
Leaves a bird
In Havana

Cloud of memory
A sparrow comes and sings
In the hair

A mirage appears			Ocean city
The future erupts
Shines back

Wine in an ant hole
The subterranean

June’s blemishes
A parachute

Department of the Word

Saw the logos	
Bending back roof tiles
In the scorching sun

The old temple’s
Carved images – nearby
An Indian lilac	

Releasing a butterfly
An ancient smile
In the present moment

Flower that bears no fruit		Wasted flower
Flowers are far
On festival day

Someone with	
Ravel’s left hand


The trick to working
The hometown well-bucket
A whirligig beetle

Eye of the needle
Afternoon wanes
Nap over 

Returning from Mary
In a field of flowers
A flower cross

A dog passes
Over a fur coat
Over memory

Lute Without Strings		No Strings

Winter trees stand
And that which makes the winter trees stand -
A cyclorama

For Hino Soujou (1901-1956)

The sundial’s
Spring come again
Pointing, it overflows

The circle of the moon
Plays on a reed
Of ancient Japan			Land-of-abundant-reed-plains

At the boundary of the field
Crop fires beginning
Hope of renewal, prosperity		Farewell

A swan’s
White absence –
Reflections on the water


2 Responses to “Katoh Ikuya: Selections from Spherical Sense (1959)”

  1. Jeffrey Angles Says:

    Would enjoy seeing the Japanese for these poems here sometime.

  2. Jeffrey Angles Says:

    Great work, BTW!

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