Friday, November 15, 2019

INK DARK MOON (pg's xi to 74)


Introduction............... xi

ONO NO KOMACHI............. 1

IZUMI SHIKIBU.............. 47


On Japanese Poetry and
the Process of Translation.. 161

Notes to the Poems.......... 175

About the Translators

The two poets whose work is collected in The Ink Dark Moon are
central figures in the only Golden Age in literary history in which
women writers were the predominant geniuses: Japan’s Heian era,
which lasted from 794 to 1185. Ono no Komachi (834?—?) served at the
imperial court in the capital city of Heian-kyo (present-day Kyoto)
during the first half century of its existence; her poetry, deeply
subjective, passionate, and complex, helped to usher in a poetic age of
personal expressiveness, technical excellence, and philosophical and
emotional depth. Izumi Shikibu (974?—1034?) wrote during the time of
the court culture’s greatest flowering; a woman committed to a life of
both religious consciousness and erotic intensity, Shikibu explored her
experience in language that is precise in observation, intimate, lyrical,
and deeply moving. These two women, the first a pivotal figure who
became legendary in Japanese literary history, the second Japan’s
major woman poet, illuminated certain areas of human experience with
a beauty, truthfulness, and compression unsurpassed in the literature
of any other age. As do the words of Sappho, Catullus, and Dickinson,
in whose company they belong, their brief poems serve as small but
utterly clear windows into those concerns of heart and mind that
persist unchanged from culture to culture and from millennium to

Pg xi

The aristocratic culture of the Heian court proved to be a uniquely
auspicious environment for women writers for several reasons, but the
foremost is the central role of the arts in the conduct of daily life. Aside
from the unalterable circumstance of inherited family rank, successful
display of aesthetic sensibility was the primary means of establishing
personal distinction among members of the court, both male and
female. The skills, subtle judgment, and taste demonstrated in the
mixing of incense, the layering of patterned silk kimonos, musical
performance, painting, dance, and above all the writing and recitation
of poetry, figured greatly both in one’s appeal as a prospective romantic
partner and in one’s prospects for official advancement. No significant
experience was considered complete without its accompanying poem,
and conversely, the desire to give an experience formal expression in
poetry was itself the mark of the presence of deep emotion for an
educated person.

Male writers, however, composed a great part of their work in
Chinese; adopted in the fourth or fifth century as Japan’s first written
language, Chinese served as the official form of communication in
government and scholarly discourse in much the way that Latin
functioned in European courts and centers of learning in the Middle
Ages. Women, who were not usually educated in the use of Chinese,
were only given the means for creating a written literature near the end
of the eighth century, when a new system was devised for using Chinese
characters phonetically to transcribe spoken Japanese. Concentrating
their efforts on the vernacular, and free from male writers’ need to
satisfy the requirements of foreign poetic structures and sensibilities,
women could devote themselves to developing their literary

Pg xii

potential to the highest degree in the poems, diaries, and “tales” in which
they recorded both the public and the most private and deeply felt aspects of
their lives.

A few themes dominate the poetry of the Heian period (and that of
later periods as well); each of them is touched on in the opening
sentences of the most famous critical statement of Japanese literature,
Ki no Tsurayuki’s preface to the Kokinshu (ca. 905), the first of a series
of imperial anthologies in which the best works in Japanese of poets
“ancient and modern” were collected:

The poetry of Japan has its seeds in the human heart and mind and
grows into the myriad leaves of words. Because people experience
many different phenomena in this world, they express that which
they think and feel in their hearts in terms of all that they see and
hear. A nightingale singing among the blossoms, the voice of a
pond-dwelling frog—listening to these, what living being would not
respond with his own poem? It is poetry which effortlessly moves
the heavens and the earth, awakens the world of invisible spirits to
deep feeling, softens the relationship between men and women, and
consoles the hearts of fierce warriors.

Here named as poetry’s proper concerns are human emotion in
general; thoughts raised by observing the sights and sounds of the
natural world; religion; the taming of wildness of spirit; and, central to
much of the work in this collection, the relations between men and
women. Poetry is described as the natural upwelling of language in an
awakened and interested heart—an irresistible and effortless answering

pg xiii

within the individual to the continual calling of the Other, whether
natural, supernatural, or human—and as possessing a virtually magical
power to change and ameliorate the external order of life. What is
extraordinary about the place of poetry in Heian Japan is that this
conception of its fundamental importance was not confined to a select
few known as “writers” but shared by all members of the court society,
for whom every personal or ceremonial experience, whether public or
private, called for not only the composing of a verse but also the
recollection of earlier poems which might add their resonance to the
moment. The first opening of the spring blossoms, the death of a child,
a glimpse of the moon, an official ritual, even the return of a forgotten
fan—none was complete without an accompanying poem. And, for the
purpose of “softening the relations between men and women,” poetry
was ubiquitous.

One thousand years ago Heian-kyo was more populous than any
European city, one of very few centers of high civilization anywhere in
the world. Male members of the aristocracy vied for political favor and
positions of power; daughters of aristocratic families were sent at about
age fourteen to serve aS companions to members of the imperial
household. Because it was solely by a daughter’s marriage that a
family’s status might be permanently advanced, the women serving in
the imperial retinue were highly cultured and carefully educated, and
they were considered aesthetic equals by the men. Once ensconced in
their separate living quarters, the women had a few official duties, but
for the most part they were left to their own devices. They read and
exchanged copies of anthologies, prepared themselves with the help of
their maids for the excitement of outings, played musical instruments
or wrote for their

Pg xiv

own and each other’s entertainment, and generally
kept one another and the empress they served amused. But the greatest
part of their attention, it seems, was devoted to affairs of the heart: love
affairs were an accepted part of courtship for unmarried women, and
polygamy was the usual arrangement for men. Thus, erotic love and its
consequences were perennial conversational and literary topics.

For a high-ranking member of the Heian court, relations with the
opposite sex presented a larger range of possible outcomes and a
greater flexibility than in most cultures. Although a primary marriage
at an early age was often arranged by the family, a man could take as
many secondary wives or official mistresses as he wished, and as many
secret lovers as would accommodate him. A man might install a
number of secondary wives in his home—most Heian dwellings
contained several wings or compounds—or he could have several wives
living in different locations. An unmarried woman might also have
multiple lovers, if perhaps with greater discretion; a wife, by contrast,
was confined to a single husband and was expected to remain faithful
after marriage, although, as can be seen in the life of Izumi Shikibu,
this was not always the case. Despite this mild double standard, Heian
women were accorded a great deal of independence in romantic
matters: able to own property and receive income in her own name, a
woman could refuse a suitor’s advances, or, should a marriage or her
position as an official “second wife” no longer suit her, end a
relationship entirely through divorce or by moving away. Furthermore,
since nearly all encounters between members of the opposite sexes took
place within a convention of secrecy, the opinions of family or friends
about one’s choices in the realm of eros might be avoided for quite a
long time.

Pg xv

The first intimation of a new romance for a woman of
the court was the arrival at her door of a messenger bearing
A five-line poem in an unfamiliar hand. If the woman found
the poem sufficiently intriguing, the paper it was written
on suitable for its contents and mood, and the calligraphy
acceptably graceful, her encouraging reply—itself in the
form of a poem—would set in motion a clandestine, late-
night visit from her suitor. The first night together was,
according to established etiquette, sleepless; lovemaking and
talk were expected to continue without pause until the man,
protesting the night’s brevity, departed in the first light of
The predawn. Even then he was not free to turn his thoughts
to the day’s official duties: a morning-after poem had to be
written and sent off by means of an ever-present messenger
page, who would return with the woman’s reply. Only after
this exchange had been completed could the night’s success
be fully judged by whether the poems were equally ardent
and accomplished, referring in image and nuance to the
themes of the night just passed. Subsequent visits were
made on the same clandestine basis and under the same
circumstances, until the relationship was either made official
by a private ceremony of marriage or ended.

Once she had given her heart, a woman was left to
await her lover’s letters and appearances at her door at night-
fall. Should he fail to arrive, there might be many expla-
nations—the darkness of the night, inclement weather,
inauspicious omens preventing travel, or other interests.
Many sleepless nights were spent in hope and speculation,
and, as evidenced by the poems in this book, in poetic
activity. Throughout the course of a relationship, the ex-
change of poems served to reassure, remind, rekindle or
cool interest, and, in general, to keep the other person aware
of a lover’s state of mind. At the same time, poetry was a

Pg xvi

means of expressing solely for oneself the uncertainties,
hopes, and doubts which inevitably accompanied such a
system of courtship, as well as a way of exploring other
personal concerns.

With so many striving to bring art to everyday
communication, the few who truly excelled acquired ex-
traordinary prestige and charisma. Ono no Komachi, in
particular, became the subject of legend almost from the
time of her death. Little is known about her life, and the
stories about her freely commingle historic fact and sup-
positions drawn from the poems. Historians believe Ko-
machi to have been the daughter of the lord of Dewa and
to have served the court in the middle of the ninth century;
she probably had at least one child, as a poem in a later
imperial anthology is attributed to “Komachi’s grandchild.”
Legends, folktales, and songs add that Komachi was not
only the outstanding woman poet of her time but also the
most beautiful and desirable of women. (In the culture of
the Heian court, the ability to write poems of great beauty
would in itself have been a major cause for being thought
both personally attractive and desirable.) Also according to
legend, the renowned poet ended her life in anonymity,
isolation, and poverty, an ancient, half-mad hag living out-
side the city walls, though still writing poetry and possessing
a deep understanding of Buddhist teachings. 

One version of Komachi’s final years appears in Komachi
at Sekidera, thought to be the greatest No play, which was
written 500 years after her death. In the play a Buddhist
priest takes his young poetry students into the countryside
to visit a hundred-year-old woman who is believed to know
the secrets of the art of poetry. During their conversation
the crone in her straw hut casually reveals that she herself

Pg xvii

is the great Komachi; the visitors are appropriately amazed.
Near the end of the play, because it is the night of Tanabata,
The festival celebrating both love and poetry, one of the
pupils performs a ritual dance. When the child is finished,
the onlookers are amazed and moved for a second time as
the aged Komachi, her memories overpowering her sense
of shame and decorum, painfully rises to her feet and takes
her turn to dance. Two other No dramas show Komachi
seeking salvation through Buddhism in her old age, hoping
to atone for her cruelty to a lover in her youth. Whatever
the facts of Komachi’s life, we know that shortly after her
death she was named by Ki no Tsurayuki, in his preface to
the Kokinshu, one of the “Six Poetic Geniuses” included
therein—the only woman so honored. Only a hundred or
so of her poems survive, less than a tenth of what remains
of Shikibu’s work.

A good deal more has been recorded about the
life of Izumi Shikibu, who came to the Heian court at the
height of its greatness to serve a former empress. Born
around 974, she too was the daughter of a lord. Despite her
marriage to a provincial official (the lord of Izumi Province,
from whom she takes her name) and the birth of a daughter,
Shikibu began a passionate liaison with the empress’s step-
son; the resulting scandal left her divorced and disowned
by her family. Three years later, a year after her first lover
had died, his brother, Prince Atsumichi, sent Shikibu an
exploratory gift of orange blossoms, and thus commenced
a new affair. In her famous Diary, a mixture of poetry and
prose, Shikibu recounts the beginning of their love, through
the time when Atsumichi persuaded her to move into his
compound despite the unusually vigorous protestations and
eventual departure of his primary wife. Five years later

 Pg xviii


Atsumichi’s death in an epidemic ended the central rela-
tionship of Shikibu’s life.

Shikibu’s behavior when—after a period of mourning
in which she wrote over 240 poems to her departed lover—
she returned to service in court, can be surmised from the
following incident: Shikibu’s sponsor and protector at court
was Fujiwara no Michinaga, father of the empress she now
served and the most powerful man in Japan. Lord Michi-
naga, seeing Shikibu’s fan in the hands of one of her many
lovers, took it and wrote on it the words “Fan of a Floating
Woman.” When Shikibu heard of this, despite her depend-
ence on this ruthless and unpredictable destroyer of careers,
she swiftly sent him a poem:

Some cross the Pass of Love,
some don’t.
Unless you are the watchman there
it is not your right
to cast blame.

Izumi Shikibu and her fellow court attendants at the turn
of the last millennium must surely have been the most il-
lustrious company of women writers ever to share a set of
roofs. Also serving Empress Akiko was Murasaki Shikibu
(Shikibu is a title, not a surname), who kept court society
eagerly awaiting each successive chapter of The Tale of Genji,
earliest of the world’s great novels. Meanwhile, in a rival
empress’s household, the famous Sei Shonagon, in her Pil-
low Book, recorded with a brilliant and unsentimental eye
the doings of the court women and their lovers. The work
of many other accomplished women of this court society
has come down to us as well, including poems by Izumi
Shikibu’s daughter, Naishi.

Pg xix

When she was thirty-six Shikibu married for the second
time and accompanied her new husband to his post in the
provinces. She never returned to court life and is thought
to have died at the age of sixty. Her reputation as a poet
grew steadily after her death, and Shikibu is now recognized
as the outstanding woman poet of Japanese literature.

Both Shikibu and Komachi were not only deeply
passionate but also intensely religious; an inquiry into the
deeper questions of life runs through the core of each wom-
an’s work, We know that Izumi Shikibu departed the hot-
house atmosphere of the court from time to time to stay in
one of the small Buddhist mountain monasteries where
guests might live among the monks for limited periods of
contemplation and retreat; at one point she seriously con-
sidered becoming a nun. Similarly, Komachi’s poems reflect
a deeply Buddhist view of existence as ceaseless change and
return again and again to the question of what in our ex-
perience can be called “real.” One of the deep pleasures in
reading their poetry is discovering the way that, for these
women, the metaphysics of religious teaching and the tu-
multituous course of the heart in love confirm a single truth,
the impermanence of being. The endeavor to come to some
acceptance and understanding of this unavoidable transience
profoundly illuminates their work.

Komachi and Shikibu stand out as two of the greatest
poets in an age of greatness not simply because they achieved
technical virtuosity in their chosen form, the thirty-one-
syllable tanka verse, but because they used that form as a
medium of reflection and introspection. Each confronted
her experience with a directness and honesty unusual in any
age. The result is that a thousand years later we can read
poems that remain absolutely accurate and moving descrip-
tions of our most common and central experiences: love and

Pg xx

loss, their reflection in the loveliness and evanescence of the
natural world, and the effort to understand better the nature
of being. We turn to these poems not to discover the past
but to experience the present more deeply. In this way they
Satisfy the test of all literature, for it is our own lives we illuminated in them.

Pg xxi

Poems by 

Did he appear
because I fell asleep
thinking of him?
If only I'd known I was dreaming,
I'd never have wakened.

Pg 3

When my desire
grows too fierce
I wear my bed clothes
inside out,
dark as the night’s rough husk.

Pg 4

My longing for you ——
too strong to keep within bounds.
At least no one can blame me
when I go to you at night
along the road of dreams.

Pg 5

No way to see him
on this moonless night ——
I lie awake longing, burning,
breasts racing fire,
heart in flames.

Pg 6 

After a lover visited in secrecy

I know it must be this way
in the waking world,
but how cruel ——
even in my dreams
we hide from others’ eyes.

Pg 7

Though I go to him constantly
on the paths of dream,
never resting my feet,
in the real world
it doesn’t equal a single glance.

Pg 8

Night deepens
with the sound
of a calling deer,
and I hear
my own one-sided love.

Pg 9

If this were a dream
I would surely
see you again ——
why must waking love
be left incomplete?

Pg 10

The cicadas sing
in the twilight
of my mountain village ——
tonight, no one
will visit save the wind.

Pg 11

A diver does not abandon
a seaweed-filled bay. . . .
Will you then turn away
from this floating, sea-foam body
that waits for your gathering hands?

Pg 12
Awake tonight
with loneliness,
I cannot keep myself
from longing
For the handsome moon.

Pg 13

Is this love reality
or a dream?
I cannot know,
when both reality and dreams
exist without truly existing.

Pg 14 

Tokiwa Mountain’s
pine trees are always green ——
I wonder,
do they recognize autumn
in the sound of the blowing wind?

Pg 15

Although there is
not one moment
without longing,
still, how strange
this autumn twilight is.

Pg 16

This entangling wind
is just like
last autumn’s gusts.
Only the dew of tears
on my sleeve is new.

Pg 17

Sent anonymously to a man who had passed in front of
the screens of my room

Should the world of love
end in darkness,
without our glimpsing
that cloud-gap
where the moon’s light fills the sky?

Pg 18 

The autumn night
is long only in name ——
We've done no more
than gaze at each other
and it’s already dawn.

Pg 19

This morning
even my morning glories
are hiding,
not wanting to show
their sleep-mussed hair.

Pg 20 

This inn
on the road to Iwanoue
is a cold place to sleep . . .
Oh monk,
would you please lend me your robes?

The Monk's reply:

Those who have given up the world
wear only a single layer
of moss-rough cloth,
yet not to offer it would be heartless.
Let us sleep together, then.

Pg 21

I thought to pick
the flower of forgetting
for myself,
but I found it
already growing in his heart

Pg 22

Sent to a man who seemed to have changed his mind

Since my heart placed me
on board your drifting ship,
not one day has passed 
that I haven't been drenched
in cold waves.

Pg 23

The seaweed gatherer's weary feet 
keep coming back to my shore.
Doesn't he know 
there's no harvest for him 
in this uncaring bay?

Pg 24

Like a ripple
that chases the slightest caress
of the breeze —— 
is that how you want me
to follow you?

Pg 25

What blossoms
yet has no fruit
is the white wave of the reef
putting on 
the sea god's head. 

Pg 26

I thought those white clouds
were gathered around
some distant peak,
but already
they have risen betrween us.

Pg 27

How sad,
to think I will end
as only
a pale green mist
drifting the far fields.

Pg 28

Silent as spring rain
on a marsh,
my tears
fall to my sleeves
unheard by him

Pg 29

Those gifts you left
have become my enemies:
without them
there might have been
a moment's forgetting.

Pg 30

Since this body
was forgotten
by the one who promised to come,
my only thought is wondering 
whether it even exist.

Pg 31

It seems a time has come
when you've become like those horses
wild with spring
who long for distant gields
where the light mists rise.

Pg 32

As pitiful as a diver
far out in Suma Bay
who has lost an oar from her boat,
this body
with no one to turn to.

Pg 33

Seeing the moonlight
spilling down
through these trees,
my heart fills to the brim
with autumn.

pg 34

O Spider Lily
that grows on the mountain 
called Waiting,
is there someone you also
promised to meet this autumn?

Pg 35

Sent in a letter attached to a rice stalk with an empty seed husk

How sad that I hope
to see you even now,
after my life has emptied itself
like this stalk of grain
into the autumn wind

Pg 36

To a man who seems to have forgotten

Truly now I've grown old
in the winter rains.
Even your words of love
have altered,
falling leaves.

Pg 37

Yes, a mountain village
can be lonely . . . 
yet living here is easier
than dwelling amid
the worries of the world.

Pg 38

If, in an autumn field,
a hundred flowers
can untie their streamers,
may I not also openly frolic,
as fearless of blame?

Pg 39

The pine tree by the rock
must have its memories too:
after a thousand yers,
see how its brnches
lean towards the ground.

Pg 40

The hunting lanterns
on Mount Ogura have gone,
the deer are calling for their mates. . . .
How easily I might sleep, 
if only I didn't share their fears.

Pg 41 

When Funya no Yasubide was appointed governor of Mikawa, he wrote asking if I would like to come visit his district. I replied:

This body
grown fragile, floating,
a reed cut from its roots . . .
If a stream would ask me
to follow, I'd go, I think.

Pg 42

While watching
the long rains falling on this world
my yeart, too, fades
with the unseen color
of the spring flowers.

Pg 43

How invisible
it changes color
in this world,
the flower
of the human heart.

Pg 44

In this world 
the living grow fewer,
the dead increase —— 
how much longer must I
carry this body of grief?

Pg 45

This abandoned house
in the mountain village ——
how manyh nights
has the autumn moon spent here?

Pg 46

Poems by

Lying alone,
my black hair tangled,
I long for the one
who touched it first.


Why haven't I
thought of it before?
This body,
remembering yours,
is the keepsake you left.

Pg 50

In this world
love has no color ——
yet how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.

Pg 51

Wakened by the scent
of flowering plum. . . .
The darkness
of the spring night
fills me with longing.

Pg 52

No different, really ——
a summer moth's
visible burning
and this body,
transformed by love.

Pg 53

A man came secretly and left in heavy rain. In the poem he sent the next morning, he mentioned having gotten wet. I replied:

Love-soaked, rain-soaked ——
if people ask
which drenched
your sleeves,
what will you say?

Pg 54

To a man who said we should meet, even if it were only for a single time

Even if I now saw you
only once,
I would long for you
through worlds,

Pg 55

Sent wheb returning a purple robe that a certain persons had left behind

Don't blush!
People will guess
that we slept
beneath the folds
of this purple-root rubbed cloth.

Pg 56

In October, a man come and then left

How easily,
leaving my house,
he cuts through
the embroidered fabric
of the fall leaves!

Pg 57

I break off
a spray of rock azalea
to hold: in its flowers
I can see again
the red-dyed robes my husband wore.

Pg 58

However wildly
this year's cherry blossoms bloom,
I'll see them
with the plum's scent
filling my heart.

Pg 59

No bone-chilling
autumn wind
could pierce me
like this spring storm
scattering blossoms.

Pg 60

Time passes,
a man forgets
and no longer comes;
yet still
I depend on his promises.

Pg 61

The fleeting world
of white dew,
fox fires, dreams ——
all last long,
compared with love.

Pg 62

Returning home near dawn after a night away

I used to say,
"How poetic,"
but now I know
this dawn-rising men do
is merely tiresome!

Pg 63

A man used to come during the summer, but stopped

You no longer 
come to visit me
in your splendid summer clothes ——
how transparently thin
your heart is as well!

Pg 64

A monk came to visit and left his fan; I returned it to him with this poem:

I think
you may have briefly forgotten
this fan,
but everyone must know
how it came to be dropped!

Pg 65

I lover wrote to ask if he had left his obi behind. When I found it, I noticed a rip. After repairing it, I returned it with this poem.

A torn sash
can be mended.
But what if you and I
are as pulled apart
as this belt?

Pg 66

To someone who came from the countryside in autumn

Though we knew each other
without overlapping
our clothes,
still, with this autumn wind's sound,
I find myself waiting for you.

Pg 67

A pond hides herself uselessly
deep in the marsh: the horses foraging
for new growth in spring
pull the reeds
until not a single root is left.

Pg 68

Seeing someone holding my fan, the courtier Michinaga asked whose it was; when he heard it was mine, he took it and wrote on it the words "Fan of a Floating Woman." My response:

Some cross the Pass of Love,
some don't
Unless you are the watchman there
it is not your right
to cast blame.

Pg 69

A lover accused me of unfaithfulness. At the time I said nothing, but the next morning I sent this poem

The reason I cried?
That my tears
might become a stream
in which to rinse
this muddied name.

Pg 70

Written for a current wife to send to an angry ex-wife, attached to a bamboo shoot

The bamboo's
old root
hasn't changed at all ——
Is there even one night
he sleeps at home? No.

Pg 71

If only his horse 
had been tamed
by my hand ——
I'd have taught it
not to follow anyone else!

Pg 72

To a man who wrote requesting an answer

I think I will not go out again
on your drifting boat
that floats
in any direction
without ever setting a course.

Pg 73

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Songs from the Slums, by Kagawa

FOREWORD     -Page 7-

TOYOHIKO KAGAWA wrote these poems
when he was a consumptive boy living in the
slums of Japan. Surrounded by hideous
things—plague, stench, disease—he sees chil-
dren kicked naked into the streets; a little
girl he loves sold. When put into prison as
an agitator, the stars shining through iron
bars are his only friends. A tiny one rescued
from professional baby—killers and dying in
his arms, flutters back to life when she feels
his tears upon her face.

Visions come of the things God will do
through him. At times despair overwhelms.
Tears flow in floods when he fears that
human love is shutting him away from God.
But there is ecstasy at last when he stands
in the sunshine before a little hut, hand in
hand with his bride, and

"Our glad souls fly
To the scarlet sky,
Wing to wing;

Ah, the only voice that can call us home
Is the cry of the poor we have left in the


FOREWORD .  . . . . . . . . . .7
INTRODUCTION  . . . . . . . . .11
SHINKAWA  . . . . . . . . . .15
SPRING NIGHT  . . . . . . . . . .19
ONLY A FLOWER  . . . . . . . . . 21
THE LAND OF HAN  . . . . . . . . 22
SLUM EVENING  . . . . . . . . . .25
MY DISCIPLES  . . . . . . . . . .27
SNOWY MORNING  . . . . . . . . . .31
MONKEY-BOY  . . . . . . . . . .36
DREAMS  . . . . . . . . . .38
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW  . . . . .40
REVENGE  . . . . . . . . . .43
AUTUMN SUNSHINE  . . . . . . . . . .45
MOKUREN  . . . . .. . . . . .49
THE MOON LOOKS DOWN  . . . . .50

BESIDE MY BRAZ'ER . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
JOBLESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
MUD . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 61
ONE GARMENT LEFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
LITTLE SISTER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
DISCOVERY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
PRAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
PENNILESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
“OE SUCH” . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
DAY’S END . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
A WRAITH'S EXISTENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74
SCULPTOR OF THE SOUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
MY CROSS . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
THE WAVES ARE SILENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
LOVE ME NOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
FLOW, TEARS! . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82
LOVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84
NEW-WEDDED . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
IN THE HEART OF MY HEART. . . .  . . . .87
THE BURDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
BIOGRAPHICAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91

-Page 11-


face to face with the tragedy of life the world
is often permanently richer. This was true
when the young prince, Gautama, who had
long been carefully secluded from even a
glimpse of the harsh side of human existence,
received his vision of suffering as he beheld
examples Of Old age, sickness, and death.
It was true when the Troubador of Christ in
Assisi turned from the revelings of his gay
comrades to kiss the tainted flesh of a leper
in the way.

The contents of this book reveal that it has
Occurred once more, as a young man in Japan,
who has the delicacy of perception for which
his race is known, and the ability of its
artists to sound the depths of life with a few
deft strokes of the brush or a poem of seven-
teen syllables, comes face to face with the in-
justice and tragedy that are bred in our
present industrial system. In these poems
Kagawa brings us alternately into the joyous

-Page 12-

presence of Beauty in the open face of Nature,
and then the ghastly reality of the hell on
earth that man's inhumanity to man has
made. The one relieves the other. With
Kagawa's faith and love we are able con-
stantly to lift our eyes above the sordid slums
of man to the shining stars of God.

These poems do not seem so much to
seize upon the instances of pathos and beauty
which the author has known in his unique
career, and to set them before us, as they
seize us and plunge us into his life, until we
share his wonder at the mystery and loveli-
ness of nature, and partake of his passion of
rebellion at needless human squalor and
cruelty. It is the youthful Kagawa who
writes these poems, haunted as he is by the
vision of what must be achieved when God
works through his hand, and overwhelmed
with the poignant tragedy of modern indus-
trialism which his explorations in the dark,
neglected side of a great city’s life have

In these songs there is revealed that master
power of sensing the sacramental signihcance
of common things. They are not mere lumps
of matter for him but they are vibrant with
the purposes of God. He finds the ecstasy
of the springtime that is denied a dweller in
the slums compared in the blossom of a

-Page 13-

single flower growing in the mire; he forgets
the prison chains as he gazes from the window
of his cell on a starlit night.

'Kagawa has written:

"Do you hear Gods pain-pitched cry as
He suffers because of the world`s sore dis-
tress? Yes, I hear it! I hear it! I feel within
me the beating pulse of the universe. I hear
the deep sighings of God."

Like many noble and gentle souls who have
preceded him, he has_ been able to "find the
Christ through tears." His Bible is not a
mere book, but the pulsing life that passes
beneath his window in the slums. t His
Christ, and the Christ of these poems, is one
who goes to his death anew in the person of
the victims of leprosy and tuberculosis who
knows the dull despair of the unemployed,
and is no stranger to the crushing woe of the
women sold into the captivity of lust that
they and their families may eat bread.

The reading of the songs in this book
will bring tears to the eyes of many and
tribute to the artistic balance of its realism
as well as to the pathos and beauty of the
human picture it portrays.

The forces that have made a waste of the
world today are common to the Shinkawa
of Kobe, the East Side of New York, and
London`s Bow. Kagawa is not confronting

-Page 14-

us with some far-off tragedy of another
hemisphere, but one in which our own hands
are red with guilt. Perhaps this, in addition
to being the terrific indictment of the picture
which the book gives, is also its chief mes-
sage of hope. Its author, as we know,
dreams of a fellowship of Christians around
the earth, of a Christian Internationale,
whose members, sustaining and supporting
each other, shall launch a common attack
upon the social sin which embodies itself in
a system whose chief by-product is debauched,
debased, and prostituted human lives.

If the challenge of Kobe’s slums is not pe-
culiar to Japan, but is common to the East
and the West, may it not be the means of
bringing forth a new, militant solidarity
among those whose privilege it is to make
up the body of Christ on earth?

“Fervent the vow I swore to fight, nor falter;
Fight with a faith not flickering, nor dim;
God is my Father; in my heart an altar
Glows with the sacrifice I offer Him.”

New York, N. Y.
October, 28, I935

-Page 15-


One month in the slums,
      And I am sad,
      So sad
I seem devil-possessed,
      Or mad.

Sweet Heaven sends
      No miracle
      To ease
      This hell;
The Careless earth
      Rings no
      Alarum bell.

But here there are slippery streets, which
      never are dry;
They are lined with open sewers, where rats
      come out to die;
Tattered paper doors stand wide to winds
      that beat;
The houses are all of a reddish black, like the
      hue of stale whale meat;
. . .

Filth on the flimsy ceilings, dirt in the musty
Elbowed out of their crowded rooms, people
      are everywhere;
All night long they Crouch in the cold,
      huddled on broken benches,
Where there`s never a moment's lifting of
      the heavy offal stenches.

The painted idiot girl,
      Upon whose back
      Vile pictures
      Were tattooed
            In red,
Will never lure men to her den again
She is dead . . . . .

You ordinary folk
Upon the hill,
      To Whom
The slums are vague,
Listen and tremble
As I scream to you,

I came to bring
I God to the slum;
But I am dumb,

-Page 17-

      By those
Whom I would aid;
      Pressed down
      So sad
      I fear
      That I am mad

Race through my brain
      And lie
      Upon my heart
Pictures like this:
      A man,
Legs rotted off
With syphilis;
      And yet
He need not fret
That money
Does not come,
Because his wife
Is rented out
And brings
Sufficient sum.  .  .  .  .

      I hear
A harsh voice
      Cry our,
“Here you! Dance!"
I see a thin Child dodge

And I know
It is the boy
Whose father
             Kicks him.
Twelve years old,
Driven from bed
Into the streets,
Naked and cold .....

I must be done with thoughts like these!

The raindrops patter slowly from the eaves;
The fire beneath my half-boiled rice is out,
I hear the rising roar of ribald shout
That brings the evening to Shinkawa Slum.

             Is there no way
             That help can come?

-Page 19-


One sweet spring night
Two little actress girls,
Dressed all in red,
Their faces powdered
To a ghastly white,
Sat in the doorway
Of a restaurant
glazinghwith lights;
There they played
The koto.

As they sang,
The music
Like a little brook
Out of a valley,
While their voices rose
Piercing and clear,
Or died
In whispers.

Stood there
And stared,
And stated;
And l stated
With them.

Then I went away
And hid my face,
And wept-
Wept for the woe
Those little singmg girls
Must know!

-Page 21-


Strange that the spring has come
On meadow and vale and hill,
For here in the sunless slum
My bosom is frozen still.
And I wear the wadded things
Of the dreary winter days,
But out of the heart of this
             little flower
God gazes into my face!

-Page 22-


“He cannot save
Long ago,
The crowds
Reviled a Man
Who came
To save them.
And I,
Who fain would follow Him.
Am spent.
For I can see
No hope
For the slums,
Because that,
First of all,
This thing
Is wrong-
That men
Should crowd
Thus in the dearth
And dirt-
  Should crowd and throng.

I would lead them away from their bondage,
             on, and on, and on,
To the North Land, the Land of Trees, the
             lovely Land of Han,
Where mosquitoes never torture,and there's
             never pain to bear,
But flower buds are bursting, and spring is
Where fairy fragrance flurters on the clean,
             cool breeze,
And tiny, straw-thatched home-huts are nes-
             tled 'neath the trees;
Where bonny birds sing gaily in the glory of
             the dawn,
And friendly folk fare forth to work each
             bright and happy morn;
Where the sun shines out in splendor when the
             white mist fades,
Where the crystal streamlets tinkle, and there
             comes the twinkle, twinkle,
Of the sunlight falling, flashing on the spades.
Where the hazy purple mountains and the
             blue, blue rivers sing,
“God is here around you! He is here in
             everything !"
Yes; I would lead my people on, and on, and
To the North Land, the Land of Trees, the
             lovely Land of Han!

But oh, in my heart there is pity,
For my people must stay in the city
And this six-foot shack that shelters
Is the only place where I want to be.

-Page 25-


I walk the bright, hot streets,
And suddenly the sunshine shows
          How soiled my sleeve is.

When the evening comes,
Tired, oh, so tired,
I wander home
To an empty house ;
No one to greet me here.

And so,
I drop clown
On the sill
To watch the sunset.

My sick neighbor there,
The one whose head is stiff upon his neck
Boils me some gruel,
And comes bringing it.

I watch men thronging home,
  No work to do,
They idle all day long,
  Day after day.
  Slowly the sun goes down.

Rice gruel and dried plums,
The gruel thin and white,
The plums blood-red.

    I eat'
   Night falls
   I throw myself
   Down on my bed.  .  .  .  .

-Page 27-


Three disciples have I,
Three, or four.
Little shaven-headed,
I Cat; Tako
Night falls And loud-voiced
I throw myself Jinko,
Down on my bed. _ .
Who will not lose me from
Are numbers One and Two.

The Beggar’s Chief
Is Number Three.
He did not know
How to bow
At the Christmas feast,
And so,
He turned swift somersaults.

Is Baby Dekobo.
He cannot lisp
His father’s name,

But all the day,
He calls,
“Ten-tei! Ten-tei!"

So lovely,
Twelve years old, and sold. .  .  .  .  .
For hours she cried outside my door
Because she had to go.
The little girl who loves me most
ls Kiyo-ko.

-Page 29-


If only there are stars,
I have my friends.
But in the dark
I think upon my fate,
And all
My spirit sickens
And the hard tears fall.

Around my prison
Runs a high stockade;
And from my wrists
Chains dangle;
But no power
Can lock my eyes.

So can I steal
This lovely light
That wraps me
This radiance
That drips
Out of the Dipper.

Dragging my chains
        I climb
To the tall window-ledge;
        And though
My body cannot crawl
Between those grim iron rods,
        Still can I
Laugh as my spirit flies
Into the purple skies!

Northward and northward,
        Up and up,
Up to the world of light
        I go bounding,
Farewell, O Earth, farewell,
What need I now of your freedom?

Fearless, I fly and fly,
On through the heavenly sky;
Breaking all prison bars, '
My soul sleeps with the stars!

-Page 31-


Six in the morning;
        It is dark
        And cold.
A little figure
Stands by the sake shop,
Her head bowed down
Against an empty Cart.

She wears the rags
        She slept in.
        Her mother
        Has pawned
        Her clothes;
And as she starts
        For the factory,
        She has come
        So far,
        And stopped .....

     It is Yoshiko
Shamed, and hungry, and cold
   Crying in the snow.

-Page 32-


Dawn coming in through the greyness
Lights up the place Where she lies;
I am sodden with sleep, but I waken`
At my starveling`s fretful cries.

She is here on the floor beside me
 Wrapped in rags that stink;
  I Change them;
 I hold her to feed her,
And sob as she struggles to drink.

Three days have I now been a woman,
With a mother's heart in my breast;
 Do I doze but an hour `
  Then she whimpers,
And I spring to soothe her to rest.

Thin little dirty baby,
Walling with pain all the While,
But I taste the bliss that no life should miss
When I look in her eyes and smile!

        Ah, she is ill
        Little Ishi,
 Life has abused her so;
Safe from the fiend who had meant to kill,
 Fever has laid her low.

Through the night I labored to save her;
 We two were all alone.
Sharp in the fearful stillness
The neighbors clock struck one.

Then Walls Went creaking, Creaking,
 Blackened timbers groaned.
In this house by murder haunted,
The low-hung ceilings moaned.

Boards in the floor beneath us
Which have sucked blood, Warm and bright,
Held their breath and shrieked of death
Into the ghostly night. . . .

Why is the World so cruel?
Seen with Ishi's eyes,
The earth, and all things in it,
Is a mountain-pile of ice.

Then do you pity Ishi?
I need your pity, too.
I must help; I must help
       But am helpless.

Oh, to be taught what to do!
Men are consoled by their women,
But this scrap in my tired arm lies,
A shriveled doll from the junk-heap,
And the strong man who holds her cries.

Why are you quiet, Ishi?
Why are your eyes shut, Why?
Wait, oh Wait, little sick one,
It is too soon to die.
Think of my struggle to save you,
Will you not stay With me?
Listen; Death shall not take you;
I have no burial fee!

         (How now?
Through the daze of their dreadful plight
Do I wince at a bedbug's filthy bite?)

 Cry again, little Ishi;
 Cry once more, once mote;
What will it take to make you wake?
 For I cannot let you go!

I call; but you do not hear me;
I clasp you; you do not move.
It is not to pain I would bring you again,
There is Love in the world; there is Love!

 Will she not cry?
 I shall make her;
 Here in my close embrace
I kiss her wan lips growing greyer;
My drawn face touches her face.
Fast are my frightened tears flowing,
 Falling on Ishi’s eyes;
With her cold, still tears they are mingled
O God .... at last .... she cries!

-Page 36-


Today I saw a monkey-boy
Standing before a toy~shop,
Gazing with all his eyes
Down at the toys.
His face was red and round,
Not quite an idiot face;
Sixteen or seventeen he was,
A bumpkin in tight trousers,
Leggings, and sandals
Made of straw.

Upon his back
Was strapped a bundle
Wrapped in black,
On which a monkey sat.

Monkey and master,
Both alike,
Gazed on the toys,

I marveled
At their tirelessness,
And borrowing
Their unconcern,
I stopped
And gazed
At them,
And gazed.

One minute passed;
Two minutes ....
Three ....
And neither moved.
They had not even blinked

Four minutes ....
Five ....
And still
They had not looked their fill.

What were they thinking
As they watched
The strange springs move?
What does the fever
Of existence
To creatures
Such as these?

O Monkey=Boy,
I, too,
Want a toy!

-Page 38-


Day after day,
I fight
With all my might.
And when night comes
I ease my bony body down
Into a yellow chair
In our small church.

And there,
The While
My heart is full
Of praise and prayer,
The leader's voice
Fades slowly,
Into air.

I jerk
My eyes stretch wide,
And fill with tears,
Remembering my sin.
And then,
I feel again
The comfort of forgiveness.

But in a little while,
I nod, A
And nod,
And nod,
Falling ....
Falling ....
Into the gleams
That light my path of dreams.

Half-waking, and half-sleeping,
Visions around me Creeping;
Even as dusk is neither day nor night,
So fancy is weaving, weaving,
A web for my soul's believing,
And God is one with my dream-
He is one with my dream of delight.

Ah, little heart, as you nod,
How happy these visions of God!

-Page 40-


Outside my window
Noisy voices rise
Shouting my name;
      And I,
(Would-be philosopher,
Apostle thinly clad),
Within my den
Raise up my head,
And look to see
     Who calls.

Is it a human mother
Suckling there
Her clock-faced boy
With filthy nose.
Or are they animals
Far, far removed from man?
The glass distorts them . . . .
There a little girl
  Frolics about,
  Face painted
  With a fierce moustache . . . .

A baby toddles by . . . .
The bell upon a dog's neck
    Tinkles . . . . .
Tiny new-hatched
Chickens cheep . . . .

Cast-off clogs,
And broken sandals,
And foul, reeking mud
Make one great compost-heap . . . .
I know that vile things
Jump, and crawl, and leap. . .

        Chatter, chatter;
        Peep, peep;
        Clatter, clatter;
        Mumble, tumble;
        Grumble, rumble;
        Growl, yowl, howl. .  .
        And over all
        The hot rays
        Of the sun
        Beat on the slum
        Like some
        Great drum. . . .

This is no time  
        Nor place
For cold philosophy.

Come, little black-nosed babe,
Come fierce moustache,
        Come dog,
Come dirty chicks,
We shall join hands,
        And prance,
        And dance,
        And dance . . . .

-Page 43-


If I Could Search the deepest depths of space,
Or if these eyes of flesh Could scan what lies
        beyond the utmost bound of heaven,
Still could I not perceive the form of God.

And yet, would it be well to swallow up this
To grasp Love and Desire and all Reality,
As though the Universe were but a grain of
And swallowing,
Should seek to see if this would choke me?

In with thee, Space!
Thou art as light to gulp as is the air,
Thou meaningless, shapeless, worthless, life-
        less thing of cast-off skin!

        Out! Out! Out!
        Out from my lungs! Out!
        I spew thee out again!

And now afar,
Behold again
A star .... a star ....
Here Mars .... there Hercules .....

No; Space is heavy, grave. It weeps not; loves
        not; has no sweet, soft lips.
Oh, God,
This that I vomit forth is blood, and quivering

Now, who can quench the sun?
Since Spaceis ugly, quench it. Go!
Quench that great wealth of light,
That brilliancy which dazzles.

Quench it;
With all your strength ;
And it will wink out,
Thus .....

        So shall I be revenged
        Because I cannot make
        Vile things, and rad,
        Glad things, and beautiful!

-Page 45-


        O golden autumn sun,
        You are a comet,
        Rushing, whirling
        Through the sky!
        Down at the wretched slum
        I live in
        You gild the sooty sills
        As you pass by.

You have made me happy, happy, happy
You shone into my dingy little room
On the penny-posy in my gargle-bottle,
And the little bud has broken into bloom!

-Page 46-

A Vision

        The earth
        Is like the moon,
        Cold crystal,
        Flowers of ice.
        It is a desert,
        For mankind
        Has laid it waste.

        The earth is frozen,
        Glittering like a jewel,
        Ruined by pride.
        Seen from a star,
        The earth gleams
        Like the moon.
        Mount Fuji glistens,
        And the Alps
        Glow in their glory.
        The slums of London
        And the underworld
        Of Paris—
        All are shadows.

        Living things
        Have left the earth
        They rebel
        At dwelling
        In its ugliness.
        Still the world
        Whirls on,
        In agony.

        Lo, man`s sin
        Is great
        Before his God;
        His world
        A waste.

        Graves of heroes
        And of harlots
        Both alike
        Are dust,
        And dust alone.

        God has at length
        Frozen the world
        Cold as the moon.

(And Why should not God's love for us
        grow dim,
This world which has no love of use for Him?)

-Page 49-


Above the temple wall
Great waxen blossoms bloom;
Gleaming boughs alight with white
     Against the gloom.
     From morn till even
     Up, up they climb,
Trying to peep at Heaven.
          Flowers alone,
Green leaves not yet unfurled-
The only lovely, flaunting things
In all the chill, drab World.

The earth and I are drab and tired,
     But very, very soon
We shall be mad with beauty
When the fairy Cherries bloom!

The mokuren blossoms are much like magnolias, but the flowers come on the bare branches before the leaves are out.

-Page 50-


A drunken man
Was going through a soldiers" drill
Outside my door.

"About Face! Forward March!"
He called.
The alley echoed
To his fierce commands
And trembled to his tread.

I sprang before him,
Mimicking his words,
“About Face! Forward March!
Repent, and turn to good!"

But I was frightened
At my own loud voice,
And as I lit my lamp,
My knees began to shake
Because I thought,
“What if he comes
To stab me with a knife?"

But no;
He entered, saying,
"Yes, your words are good.
Yet, as for me,
The God of Heaven
Has cast me off. _
And how shall I believe
That He will save?
But say
That you will save me.
For I know
That you are in the slum
To save the poor who come."

There I sat
Upon my pallet.
What to say to him
To move his heart?
At last came words of love.

Silently he sat and listened.
After me,
My helper-friend,
Word by word,
Slowly word by word,
Showed him our Lord.

The drunken man
Burst into weeping
As he told his tale.

When he was two weeks old
His mother cast him
Out on the sea-beach,
There to die—
He cursed her for a harlot,

When he was grown
To fifteen years,
He drew a sword
Upon a man,
Demanding money;
And to hide a theft,
Burned down a home.
Nine years he was in jail.
He shook with sobbing,
As he told his tale—
A Vagabond,
The sad slum’s masterpiece.

And as we heard his sins,
We wept with him;
Wildly he wrung his hands,
And rent his clothes I
In grief,
As he implored

We soothed his fears,
Knowing we find
The Christ
Through tears.

I prayed;
Then Tora said,
"Tonight I sleep with you!
I threw my door ajar,
And looked
Up at the winter moon—

And even there, in that clear, cloudless sky,
I could not see the beauty passing by
The moon itself seemed drunken
     weeping, lost. _ . .

Knelt with me
Down in the dust
To pray.
The clocks strike midnight.

Far away,
The moon looks down
Upon the slums,
Touching the little homes,
One by one,
One by one.

Still sobbing,
Tora comes,
And runs
To turn
A strong, cold stream
Of water
On his body,
Sobering himself
From <i>sake.</i>

The moon ee s through the tattered door,
Silvering the filthy walls,
Watching us sleeping on the broken floor.

-Page 55-


Unloved and lonely
Here I sit
Leaning against
My brazier;
Now and then
I raise myself
To rake dead ashes.

I look about the room.
Pasted on the walls
Show pictures
Of a worthless world.

I cannot sing,
For doctors
Have forbidden it. ~
They cannot forbid
My prayers.

I have forsvvorn
Learning and love.
Lonely I
Sit, and
Only cry _ _ _
And weep . .
And sob ....

O devil-World,
I pile
Tears upon tears
Till I am spent,
But not,
Not yet,
Will you repent.

How I long for Thee!
All feeling else is gone.
This three-mat hole
Where sunlight never strikes,
This poverty so dread
That I would fain
Cast out the cat I  
I cannot feed,
(The cat that comes =
Again, and yet again)—

But I am satisfled,
Satisfied. ....

My eyes behold Thee here,
And when I close them
Can feel Thee watching
By my side.

Farewell to paper~pasted walls;
I get me up
And shove my shoddy sandals on.

Throughout this land
I go to preach,
"The Kingdom if at hand!"

-Page 58-


Crunching the frost
A figure hurries down the street,
Buffeted by
The cold, keen wind;
And as he passes on,
He always seeks the sunny side
To walk along.

He throws himself
Down in a bright, warm spot
Beside a bank—
One of the jobless throng
That haunt the city.
Men go rushing past;
The tide of traffic roars.
But by and by,
All huddled in a heap,
He falls asleep.

Hour after hour
He dozes .... wakes . . .
And dozes . . . .

"Ah, the sun,
The sun,
Is my fast friend.
I love him;
He loves me;
He loves me,
And he gives
This sweet and pleasant warmth.

But he is far,
So far,
I cannot touch
Nor thank him,
And my heart is sad.

As for the world,
It is too wide,
Too wide and cold."

“Ji-RIN! Ji-RIN!"
A bell comes jingling down the
A loud voice calling,
"To-o-o-fu! To-o-o-fu!"
And the bean-curd seller
Passes by.

The sleeper rouses up,
Hearing the tinkling bell,
Eager to snatch it,
To find a way
Out of his hell
Of bitter idleness—
Alas! He has no bell!

He flings himself
Against the wind,
Ashamed to sleep and doze.

"O sun,"
He thinks,
“Are you as lone as I,
Up in your empty sky?"

-Page 61-


The leather tips
Of my high clogs
Are gone.
And so I stumble
As I feel my Way
Along the muddy paths.
The streets '
Are sloughs of slime
After the rain—
Rutted with Wheel-tracks;
Ploughed with Wooden shoes
Strewn with the skins
Of oranges;
With scattered bits
Of paper handbills.

Through the mire
Wade ragged boys and girls.
Yonder I see
A fool go past,
His silly mouth
wide open.
There a wet policeman stands;
A rickshaw splashes by.
The muddy pools'
Mirror the wretched shops.

Clop, elop,
My clogs
Go stumbling
Through the slop.

-Page 63-


I have no one
To make a garment
For me;
Nor yet
A garment to be made.
My clothes
Are soiled,
And torn,
And tattered.
On the streets,
The people stare at me
Each time I leave the slums.

But those who clothe themselves
In borrowed garb
Are like a crow
Wearing a peacock's feathers-

As for myself,
Bare legs,
Short shirt,
Sweatband on brow,
I gird me up
To move the world!

And when
I wash
My one poor garment,
Stiff with filth,
I wait _
For it to dry.

LI kneel
Down at the crossing
In the mud,
To weep
And pray.

Stripped thus of all that Thou hast given me,
Lord, I would give again my all to Thee!

-Page 65-


She leaves her bed
At live;
And it is ten
At night
When she Comes home again.

She has her bath,
And does her hair;
And then
'Tis almost' midnight
When she kneels to pray
After her heavy day.

Often beside
The Whirring wheels
Her head droops down,
Half-starved for sleep. _ _

My little sister
Of the factory
Is sweet.

-Page 66-


I cannot invent
New things,
Like the airships
Which sail
On silver wings;
Bur today
A wonderful thought
In the dawn was given,
And the stripes on my robe,
Shining from wear,
Were suddenly fair,
Bright with a light
Falling from Heaven—
Gold, and silver, and bronze
Lights from the windows of Heaven

And the thought
Was this:
That a secret plan
Is hid in my hand;
That my hand is big,
Because of this plan.

That God,
Who dwells in my hand,
Knows this secret plan
Of the things He will do for the world
Using my hand!

-Page 68-


In the clear morning
I have climbed the hill.

Smoke from the factories
Rolls west to east
Across the huge red sun.

A train puffs past I
Through tiny, far-off fields.

Bright buds are everywhere.
     God of the hills,
     The smoke,
     The sun,
     The growing grain,
I cannot word my prayer.

God .... green things . . .
Green things .... God . .
Lord of each little leaf
     On every tree;

Lord of the clouds that drift
     Far out to sea,
     I thank Thee
That Thou has shown
To me.

     I pray
     That Thou Wilt take
     Evil away.

-Page 70-


     Penniless . . .  .
     A while
     Without food
     I can live;
But it breaks my heart
     To know
     I cannot give.

     Penniless ....
I can share my rags,
     But I-
I cannot bear to hear
Starved children cry.

     Penniless . .
And rain falls,
But trust is true.
Helpless, I Wait to see
What God will do.

-Page 71-


I would be always but a little child,
Stretching my eager fingers out to catch
  the rain;
To touch the bright, sweet flowers;
          On the path I pass
To hear the noisy insects in the grass.
          Always would I know
The thrilling wonder of my Hrst white snow!

I would be always innocent:
          Would always learn;
Would greet each dawn with glee;
Ah, it is much, is much,
To know the Coming Kingdom is of such!

-Page 72-


Day ends:
Breasting the North,
My shoulders shiver
As I onward go.
And yet,
I utterly forget
The cruel cold,
Nor feel the dark,
Because my heart
Aches with the people’s woe.

Oh, let me trust
That through my tears
God`s Kingdom has
One little inch drawn near!
Then what is it to me
That my weak body he
Beaten to dust?
I crawl from out my bed
Into the cold,

And gaze up at the stars again,
Finding God there
To help me bear
My daily load
Of grief and care,
Sorrow and pain.

Deep in the night
Our spirits meet,
And prayer is sweet!

-Page 74-


The things
I get of life
Grow daily less.
I eat coarse rice;
My bloodless body

I have no house,
And so i
The library
At school
Becomes my home,
And there I pass my time.

They say that spring
Has come;
But no flowers bloom,
And I must still breathe on
The cold raw air
Of winter.
But my frozen flesh,

Leaves me limbless-
Only a thin, grey ghost

O spring-time sun,
Look down
And shed a tear
For this poor Wraith,
For me!

-Page 76-


I fain would be a sculptor of the soul,
Making each strong line fine,
     Each feature faultless.
     Yet the sculptor cannot carve
     In wood or stone
     An image nobler than he sees
     Within his own stout soul.

So, gazing at the tools within my hand
I shudder! How escape from self . . .
     Pitiable, limited-
     That I may be indeed
     God's Carver?
     Happy is this thought;
     There is a Guide for me
     Who in His living flesh
Has given me the perfect image that I
 seek, of God!

-Page 78-


The fault is mine;
I cannot pray
In this dark place.
But when I raise my eyes
The form of my '
Own formless God
          Is here,
          And I
Can look unto His face.

The green leaves wither;
Swarming flies
Buzz in the Wan sunset;
And little, hungry children
By shop doors
Listless, are playing yet.

O God`s fair Country!
Bitter Hell!
O present world
Of grief, and pain, and loss!

Their will to live,
Though life be cursed,
That is my cross!

-Pages 80 and 81 are missing-
("The Waves are Silent" and "Love Me Not" will be added later)

-Page 82-


Flow, O my tears!
Well up and fall,
O flood!
Soul of my inmost soul,
Dissolve in grief—
For I have lost
The precious ALL
I offered God.

O tears,
Lift up your doleful voice;
For from the day
I turned to human love,
Forgetting God,
His presence has
Departed from me—
And I know not where!

Lift up your voice,
And scream,
And cry aloud;
Fall tears,
That I may wring you dry
For I would see my God,
Or failing,
Immerse the world in woe
Then fling my life away!

Oh, that my tears
Might overflow
The path by which
God flees from me!
Tears of my heart,
Quick! Quick!
Help me to capture Him!

Oh, agony and pain
To long .... to long . .
To see
The face of God again!

-Page 84-


  My God is Love;
  My God is Love,
  Tender and deep;
I feel His close, sweet presence
  Looking down to see
  The beggar-baby
  Lying in my arms asleep.

-Page 85-


    Bright sunshine
    On a hut—
    Our little hut—
    Where we stand,
    My love and I,
    Heart to heart,
    Hand in hand.

    As the springtime bud
    Grow, close together,
    So shall we grow,
    Forever and ever.

    By the sea
    We stand,
    My love and I,
    Hand in hand;
    And our glad souls fly
    To the scarlet sky,
    Wing to wing—

And the only voice that can call us home
Is the Cry of the poor we have left in the slum'

We may be beaten
By the world;
Flesh fallen away,
Bones broken,
Blood flowing;
Yet shall our spirit lives
Point upward,

O brave one,
And tender,
Surely our happiness
Is like Heaven!

Tired of the world,
We can always fly
Up to the wide and wonderful sky,
You and I,
Hand in Hand,
Heart to heart,
Wing to wing,
Bright as the rising sun
In spring!

-Page 87-


You who dwell
In the heart of my heart
Listen to me;

This you must know—
I am a child of grief and pain
Bending my lingers to count my woe.

You yield me
But I
Have nothing
I can bring
To give to you.

You have married
Poverty, sorrow;
Bear it with -me;
The storm will be

A little while
For us
The rod;
And then,
Then, God!

O angel one,
You must not weep;
Come here,
My dear,
Come near . . . .

-Page 89-


 Take Thou the burden, Lord;
I am exhausted with this heavy load.
 My tired. hands tremble,
 And I stumble, stumble
  Along the Way.
Oh, lead with Thine unfailing arm
    Again today.

 Unless Thou lead me, Lord,
The road I journey on is all too hard
 Through trust in Thee alone
  Can I go on.

Yet not for self alone
Thus do I groan;
My people's sorrows are the load I bear.
Lord, hear my prayer-
May Thy strong hand
Strike off all chains
That load my well-loved land.
God, draw her close to Thee!

-Page 91-


Toyohikco Kagawa was born in Kobe, Japan, July
10, 1888. His father was first head of some nineteen
villages in his native province of Awa, and later was
elevated to secretaryship of the Privy Council which,
because of its function of advising the Emperor, was
the most influential body in the Empire. Kagawa's
childhood was a sad one, for he was the son of one of
his father's concubines, and both parents died when he
was four years old. He went to live in the ancestral
village of Awa, in the care of his father's neglected
wife and a foster grandmother. Here, in a great
thatch-roofed farmhouse, he lived a lonely life, abused
and humiliated because of his birth by the two women
in whose care he was placed. Nature was even at
that time the great solace of his heart.

Except for a profligate brother who went through
the family estate in the process of his dissipation, but
whose occasional visits home were a bright spot in
the life of the boy, he knew little real affection until
he entered school in the city of Tokushima. At a
time when he was in danger of succumbing to the
melancholia that often threatens the reserved and
highly sensitive youth of Japan in adolescence, love
came into his life in the person of two missionaries,
Dr. H. W. Myers and Dr. C. A. Logan. Both were
friends and counselors to the lonely lad, and it was
through them that he came to know the personality

of Christ, and to find purpose and meaning in life.
With the heart-felt prayer, “O God, make me like
Christ," he entered upon that fellowship with God to
the reality of which his whole subsequent life has
been a testimony.

Reading of the work of Canon Barnett in the slums
of London, he decided to dedicate his life to the service
of the poor. This choice of religion and Vocation
brought down the wrath of his uncle, the head of the
family, upon him, and resulted in his being disin-
herited. He was firm in his choice, however, and in
1905 he entered the Presbyterian College in Tokyo, in
preparation for the ministry. There he distinguished
himself first as an omnivorous reader (his taste running
to Kant, Darwin, Ruskin, and Max Muller) and second
as a lover and defender of the weak and needy.

At the time of the Russo-Japanese War Kagawa, who
had been deeply influenced by Tolstoi, declared himself
a pacifist, and as a result one night was taken out to
the baseball ground by his fellow-students and beaten.
Years later, one of those whose blows had fallen upon
him again laid hands upon him, this time to offer his
ordination prayer!

While still in the second year of college he was
stricken with tuberculosis, and had to seek health on
the seashore, where he spent himself in the service of
the fishing folk about him. It was there that he drafted
his first novel- which was one day to give him a fore-
most place among the writers of japan. He wrote in
such poverty that it had to be inscribed with the
Japanese writing brush on the pages of cast-away

When only partially recovered he went to Kobe to
enter the theological seminary, and while yet in his
seminary studies he felt the call of the slums of the
city, the worst, perhaps, in all the world. Ar that
time there were in this section, known as the Shinkawa,
some twenty thousand outcasts, paupers, criminals,
beggars, prostitutes, and defectives, who lived like
homeless dogs in human kennels of filth and vermin
and disease. Policemen feared to visit this district
unless they went in groups. Often a single house, not
more than six feet square, would accommodate a
family of five, or two families of nine to ten persons.
A community kitchen, a water hydrant and a common
toilet of unspeakable filth often served the needs of a
score of families. The district swarmed with scrofu-
lous, undernourished children, and the infantile mor-
tality often reached the staggering height of over
500 in 1000.

Kagawa`s one room was about six feet square, with-
out a bed, stove, table, or chair. One of the first appli-
cants for his aid was a man covered from head to foot
with blotches of contagious itch. Kagawa, feeling
that this was the great test for him, received him and
made him his bedfellow. In time, opening his little
room indiscriminately to people with all manner of
diseases, he himself contracted not only the itch but
also a dreaded eye disease from which he has never

Here in his Shinkawa home Kagawa cared for the
sick, washing their infected clothes with his own
hands, and taught the more ambitious of the popula-
tion, holding classes in reading and writing at an
early hour before his students went out to work.
Here he became the champion of babies and children
who had been rented out to old women at so much per
month by parents who did not want them, pod who
were slowly allowed to starve by their callous cus-
todians. Even while still in theological seminary
Kagawa adopted one such child to prevent its being

starved to death, and through slow months while
still carrying on work in the seminary, nursed it back
to life. He continued to live in his six-by-six room
but as his duties increased he added another room
which served as a dispensary and hospital.

After his first novel had been discovered one day by
a publisher who called at his house in search of ma~
terial for a magazine, it was published in book form
and 111 a short time Kagawa's name was a household
word over the Empire. Other books rapidly appeared,
all of _them eagerly devoured by the public.

Whllc Kagawél was attending the theological semi-
UHYY he Came to know a "Miss Spring,” a young
woman who was a worker in a factory where he had
preached._ Under his influence she accepted Christ’s
WHY 0f_l1fe, and longed to give herself in the same
hard, high service that was being performed by the
0f1@ Who had brought her the message. Two of the
most beautiful poems of this book tell of the life
partnership to which this friendship led.

In IQI4 the way opened for Kagawa to study for two
years in Amer1ca. He spent this time in Princeton
Theological Seminary, and in investigating social serv-
ice institutions in this country. Lucrative positions
were offered him on his return to Japan, but he refused
them all and returned to his little room in the slums.

In the course of time he found himself involved not
QDIY in the problems of his immediate neighbors, but
in social issues which affected the well-being of millions
throughout Japan. In 1911 he led striking workers
in a procession several miles long, demanding the
recognition of their union and voicing their radical
demand: “Laborers are personalities. They are not
commodities to be bought and sold according to a
scale of wages based on the market price." More
than once Kagawa was arrested, at one time being
beaten with a saber and dragged hatless and shoeless
to the police station.

It was not the army of industrial workers alone, how-
ever, that called forth the creative sympathy of Kaga-
wa. The majority of Japan's workers are farmers,
and in a country smaller than the state of California,
eighty-two per cent of which cannot_be cultivated,
with a population per arable square mile Of_7_,418, or
the most overcrowded in the world, the life of the
rural population is particularly hard. Forty-six per
cent of them are tenant farmers, and Kagawa found
that the struggle for existence was constantly driving
many of these to the cities, to swell the population Of
the slums. He found that the sources of supply for
public and private prostitution were these, poverty-
stricken rural villages. In 1931, in Kagawas hut 111
the Shinkawa, the first true peasant union in Japan
was organized, the first of a long series of undertakings
on the part of Kagawa for the farmer-folk, In the
course of the years these have included, widespread
peasants' co-operatives, the peasants' "gospel schools
at which religion is interpreted in terms of scientific
farming and village improvement, and in magazines
designed to promote the co-operative movement among
the peasants, to which Kagawa has been the chief con-

Kagawa is a tireless advocate of the co-operatives
as the next step in bringing about a socialized economy.
He has built up a medical co-operative in Tokyo with
its own hospital and some 6,000 members, and has
been responsible for the organization of consumers
co-operatives in many of the large cities. In one_of
these, in Osaka, polished rice may be bought which
has been grown by peasant co-operators and milled by
the consumers' co-operative. Suits of clothing may be

purchased at this store for about five yen (two dollars).
In addition to this, the city settlements in Tokyo and
Osaka, with their kindergartens, shelters for the desti-
tute, co-operative pawn shops, and banks, are well
known all over Japan.

While proclaiming himself a socialist, he has stood
uncompromisingly against extreme tactics of violence
and hatred, and at times has met the full force of at-
tack from the extreme left as well as from the right.
As a pacifist, committed to the elimination of the
economic causes of war, Kagawa organized the National
Anti-War League in Japan in 1918. He has voiced
his opposition to the imperialist policy of the govern-
ment since I93I, and on a recent visit to China has
taken occasion publicly to apologize for the conduct
of his countrymen. As the leading spirit back of the
Kingdom of God Movement he has been instrumental
in uniting Christian forces of Japan in a campaign that
has as its goal one million Christians in Japan, and the
realization of love in social life.

While engaged in his manifold activities of speaking
and directing the work of numerous social organiza-
tions in Japan Kagawa continues to be a prolific writer.
Kagawa now lives in a small village outside of
Tokyo, but the demands of his enterprises all over the
Japanese Empire, and urgent calls for his counsel and
message in other parts of the world, have forced him
to spend a large part of his time in travel. His health
is still poor, yet he continues to turn out the work of
several men, seemingly having found some hidden
source of energy. Above all, he remains a man whose
life is organized about prayer, having adopted the
practice of spending a full hour in the early morning
in fellowship with God.