Friday, July 17, 2009

Written on the sky - poems from the Japanese


I came across this book recently in the ever visited Norli bookstore. It is a small volume of Japanese poetry translated by Kenneth Rexroth, of whom the back flap tells me was "considered by many as the father of the San Francisco renaissance of the 1940s", and "brought public attention to world poetry through his [...] brilliant translations of Chinese and Japanese poetry".
What first caught my eye was, I must confess, the book's cover. The digital representation to the left here doesn't completely give the real book credit. It is a small, glossy black piece with the flowers and letters printed in a thick golden material, and the embellishment also flows across the book's back. The design reminds me of art deco, only with Eastern patterns and images.
So much for the cover, here is a sample poem:

How can I blame the cherry blossoms
for rejecting this floating world
and drifting away as the wind calls them?

(By "Shunzei's daughter")

There is something about the Japanese and cherry blossoms. As well as moonlight. Their very own kind of melancholy.

No comments: