Backside

By Chika Sagawa 1911–1935 Chika Sagawa

Translated By Sawako Nakayasu Read the translator's notes

Night eats color,   
Flower bouquets lose their fake ornaments.   
Day falls into the leaves like sparkling fish   
And struggles, like the lowly mud,   
The shapeless dreams and trees   
Nurtured outside this shriveled, deridable despair.   
And the space that was chopped down   
Tickles the weeds there by its feet.   
Fingers stained with tar from cigarettes   
Caress the writhing darkness.   
And then the people move forward.

Source: Poetry (April 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009

Biography

Chika Sagawa, whose real name was Aiko Kawasaki, was one of the first female modernist poets in Japan, and was an esteemed member of the literary community surrounding Katue Kitasono. After her death, her poems were collected and edited by Ito Sei and published as the Collected Poems (Shourinsha, 1936).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION Asia, East

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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