Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shade by Tada Chimako

Full Winter Moon Photo by Marion

Tada Chimako (1930 - 2003) was one of the most important female poets of contemporary Japan.  During her life, she published eight volumes of essays and thirteen volumes of poetry.  She is also the author of one volume of poetry in English translation, "Moonstone Woman", compiled while she was poet-in-residence at Oakland University in 1986.  She died of cancer in early 2003.  Jeffrey Angles, (translator) recently completed his Ph.D. in modern Japanese literature and is currently working on a book of translations of Ms. Tada's poetry.

Shade
By Tada Chimako

A dark elephant
living in a dark forest
came to sip from a pond
as the Buddha watched

A dark elephant
from a dark forest
has come to the pond
and sipped
the trembling vision
of the Moon.

A dark deer
from a dark forest
also came to sip from the pond.

The deer has also sipped
the vision of the moon.

The Buddha leaned over
and scooped up the moon in his palm.

I too will sip
if it will illuminate my heart
just a little.

More than two thousand years
after the Buddha's death
His remains have been divided endlessly
only imaginary numbers can count
the tiles atop the reliquary pagodas
that stretch into the sky
three stories, five stories, seven stories...

As a person of brightness
living now in a town of light,
to which pond will you go
to sip when overcome by night?
When you scoop up the water
what vision of the moon
will you find in your palm?

I too will sip
if it will shade my heart
just a little.

**********************************


My Gir, sipping some clouds...

14 comments:

Kelly said...

Great poem!! Your photo of Gir goes with it so well, too!

I also love that moon photo.

Wine and Words said...

Gir's water bowl (or is it a stolen sip from a bird bath?) looks so delightful, fresh and cool. I myself would like a sip, or a dip!!!

Happy Saturday my friend. Love you
Annie

Woman in a Window said...

"More than two thousand years
after the Buddha's death
His remains have been divided endlessly only imaginary numbers can count."

Whoa! Yes, yes, I do think so. I do think that this is the way.

(You'd laugh, Marion. I've a black cat that is not really cat-like, hates to be outside. Really, went ten years without stepping foot outside. Robert has been training it to be a cat, encouraging it to be outside. It was just stalking a chipmunk with no idea why it was doing it, and not very effectively, but it was hilarious to see. And then of course, it hightailed it to the door. Scaredy cat!)

xo
erin

ds said...

I had not heard of Tada Chimako. Thank you for sharing her beautiful poem, and your beautiful photo of the moon. Not to mention Gir...

Marion said...

Kelly, thank you. I appreciate you! Blessings!

Annie, yes, Gir loves to drink from my bird baths. I have to make sure I change the water every day to keep it clean. Gir is my familiar (to my witchy self) and loves me very much (like you do). xoxo Blessings, my friend.

Erin, there is hope for your black cat. Tigger (my inherited cat from my niece) who had never been outside in 15 years just LOVES the outdoors. She rolls in the grass, sleeps in sunbeams and swats at leaves. She sleeps mostly in a favorite lawn chair where I go at twilight each night to pick her up and bring her in. I'm happy to have given her a taste of freedom. I laughed at the picture of your cat, bewildered. Love to you & Blessings!! xo

Marion said...

ds, I found this poem in an old 'Tricycle' magazine when I was cleaning my closet recently and remembered how much I loved it. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

Pam said...

Love this poem, Marion! Oddly, it reminds me of Julliete's (stardustraven) on PS.

quid said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Snowbrush said...

I like your new photo of yourself, and I enjoyed the poem.

Eric Alder said...

Wonderful poem - right up my alley!

Surely Serendipity (or some other Muse) led you to re-discover this lost poem in that old magazine.

Thank you for sharing it!

Phoenix said...

"I too will sip
if it will illuminate my heart
just a little."

That's how I feel just about every time I read your poetry posts. Like I'm stopping from my busy, parched day to drink just a little bit of water and it will get me through the rest of the day.

:)

Maggie May said...

thank you for the introduction.

Jeffrey Angles said...

It was a nice surprise to find my translation of this poem on your blog. My book of Tada Chimako poems, _Forest of Eyes: Selection Poems of Tada Chimako_ was just published, and I was poking around for reviews when I found this!

Marion said...

Jeffrey, so glad you mentioned your book. I'm on my way to buy it. This is one of my favorite poems, ever! xo