Translated by Sawako Nakayasu
from Issue 21
I whistle and they come back from deep in the sky. As if they never drown in those endless colors. Emerald, ruby, and diamond flower petals roam the fields and mountains drenched in a new brilliance. Thin drooping folds of grass send out the slightest breeze. The terrace opens out to the sea, and countless damp conversations spill out. No longer, but at times vividly.
Sagawa Chika (real name Aiko Kawasaki), was born in 1911 in Hokkaido, Japan. One of Japan’s first female Modernist poet, her poems were posthumously collected and edited by Ito Sei and published under the title Sagawa Chika Shishuu (Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika) in 1936.
Sawako Nakayasu writes and translates poetry, and also occasionally creates performances and short films. Her most recent books are The Ants (Les Figues, 2014) and a translation of The Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika (Canarium Books, forthcoming 2014). Other books include Texture Notes (Letter Machine Editions, 2010), Hurry Home Honey (Burning Deck, 2009), and Mouth: Eats Color—Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals, which is a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. She has received fellowships from the NEA and PEN, and her own work has been translated into Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
Original text: Chika Sagawa, “A Late Gathering” from The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa. Tokyo: Shinkaisha, 2010.