Through shallow fields
of dwarf bamboo
clinging to our waist
we struggle.
We cannot soar through the sky
but must go on foot.

We go through the sea,
and through the water
clinging to our waists
we struggle.
Like watergrasses
on a broad river,
we hesitate in the sea.

The beach plover
does not fly over the beach
but follows the rocky strand.

Yamato Takeru



Sunset on the sea:
The voices of the ducks
Are faintly white…

Matsuo Bashō


Darkening sea:
a mallard’s call
sounds dimly white.

Matsuo Bashō


To depart while seated or standing is all one.
All I shall leave behind me
Is a heap of bones.
In empty space I twist and soar
And come down with the roar of thunder
To the sea.

Koho Kennichi

the ransom

Come, let’s find the secret of the clear waters;
I’ll adore you, as a drowned person does the sea.

Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh
Will be our friendly escorts, in joy.

Queen, I raised to you this shining palace,
From the remains of a vessel shipwrecked at night . . .

The gardens of corals, anemones, and algae
Lose nothing from the autumn’s breath.

Laughing like harlequins in a burlesque,
We’ll mount astride the backs of sharks.

Your eyes will gleam like phosphor
Through the dusk where no dawn laughs.

I am the being your bare breast once charmed,
Unable to hate or love you enough,

Whom you devoured as does your own escort,
Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh . . .

Come, I’ll draw you the bitter water,
To love your death there in the sea’s night.

Renée Vivien