Her warmth still remains
Deep in my chest like a flame
After fifty years.
With me on her back at dusk
She prayed to the evening star.
Their life-long struggle,
Their marching and their banners,
Have left no echo,
Like the wind in the bamboos
In a frosty winter dawn.
Through the empty nest
Lodged in the swaying branches
Of a churchyard elm
The winter moon gazes at
A name newly carved in stone.
The limpid church bells
Melt into the empty sky
Without an echo.
A lone white bird disappears
Against the pale winter clouds.
After long absence
Greeted by a rolling tin
From a ruined wall;
Even lost winter seagulls
Ridicule the newcomer.
Hisashi Nakamura was born in a village in the mountains of central
Japan in 1950. He has been writing poetry from an early age and at
the age of 22 he won a national poetry competition in Japan. After
running a school of English in Japan for several years, he settled in
York in 1988 and obtained a PhD in Peace Studies from Bradford
University in 1994. He works at York St. John University, and in
2004, he initiated the establishment of the Anglo-Japanese Tanka
Society, which now has members in 17 countries.
He is the author of The Floating Bridge: Tanka Poems in English.