Japanese Modernist Poet Nishiwaki Junzaburō, Ambarvalia


The cocktail maker may be a shabby penny shaker,

But the Greek blend rings a golden sound.

Try visiting a bar called the “Gray Violet.”

As Bacchus’ blood mingles with the nymphs’ new tears

Life, dark and imperishable, foams up

And smells delightful with a flounder large as a wheel.

The Sun

The Karumojin countryside is a source of marble.

I once spent a summer vacationing there.

No skylarks fill the sky, and no snakes slither out,

Only the sun rises from a thicket of blue plum

And sinks again into a thicket of plum.

A boy laughed as he seized a dolphin in the brook.


The spirit’s artery snaps, God’s film snaps—

I take the hand of dreaming energy from within

Withered timber, but when groping for lips of darkness,

Honeysuckle blossoms open out, shedding scent on rock, and kill a forest.

A hand reaches for a bird’s neck and an eventide of gems—

In this dreaming hand lies Smyrna’s dream,

A flaming rosebush.


In July, white waves springing on our heads,

We pass through a lovely village in the south.

A quiet garden is lost in sleep for travelers.

Water, roses and sand,

Heart misted by roses,

Hair carved in stone,

Sound carved in stone,

An eye carved in stone opens forever.

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One Response to Japanese Modernist Poet Nishiwaki Junzaburō, Ambarvalia

  1. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    “O rose, thy color is sorrow”
    An interesting line. Quite a contrast to Persian/Middle Eastern poetry on roses and nightingales.

    Ishmael Zechariah

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