In my heart,
    Laying tiny spotted eggs,
      Which remained there
        In the very depths of my heart
          Where not a wind blows
            And not a drop of rainfalls.
              They softly sounded against each other
                When my heart ached,
                  And stirred in the narrow space.
                    Ah, it was the day
                      I stood on the volcano,
                        The heat wrapping my whole being
                          And the ashes pouring over me.
                            My heart was hers
                              When the little wrens
                                Broke the shells
                                  With their tiny beaks as they grew.


                                    My poem starts
                                      With the sun setting
                                        Beyond the volcano.
                                          Like the wind passing
                                            Over the rushes,
                                              It makes no sound for the heart
                                                Of a hasty wayfarer.
                                                  The firefly lights my watch
                                                    As it flutters its thin wings.


                                                      The parsley is bright
                                                        Under the wings of the wagtail,
                                                          My love,
                                                            And the lane, as it passes
                                                              Under the fir trees,
                                                                Gives a clear glimpse of the sky.
                                                                  Not a cloud above,
                                                                    The reeds in the pond afar
                                                                      Rustle in the wind, and I
                                                                        Feel the presence of autumn in everything.
                                                                          The thunderclouds have already gone past
                                                                            The summit of the volcano
                                                                              Beyond the hillock of Hanareyama,
                                                                                And the streams
                                                                                  Running toward the southern boundary
                                                                                    As they lure friends
                                                                                      With their melancholy voices.
                                                                                        My love,
                                                                                          The parting time is come.
                                                                                            Leave desolation and annihilation
                                                                                              To the clear brook
                                                                                                And let memory stay on the bank.
                                                                                                  Let us leave,
                                                                                                    Riding the rainbow,
                                                                                                      For the land
                                                                                                        Where no words avail,
                                                                                                          Nothing to give,
                                                                                                            Nothing to get.

                                                                                                                                          Translated by George Saito

                                                                                                                (Work Posted)
                                                                                                                  POEMS FROM PRELUDES (Zensoukyoku) was published by Tokyo Sougensha in 1956. An excerpt of this gentle lyrical verse was translated into English and published by the Japan P.E.N Club in 1968.(From The Japan P.E.N. News No.21 1968)

                                                                                                                    NOGAMI Akira
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                                                                                                                    NOGAMI Akira

                                                                                                                    Poet and playwright. November 28, 1909 - November 4, 1967. Born in Tokushima Prefecture, Nogami attended Tokyo Imperial University and Kyoto Imperial University, though he withdrew before graduating from either. In the pre-war period, he founded and edited Go (Japanese chess) societies and magazines. After the war, he conducted activities seeking a fusion of poetry and music, using “Proper Japanese, Beautiful Music” as a catch phrase for his poems, novels, essays, fairy tales, dramas, children’s and popular songs, and translations. He was a researcher of the Beatles, and is well known for his rendering into Japanese of the Olympic Hymn (Ozora to Daichi) in 1958 and Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” (Kaze ni Fukarete) in 1963.

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