SHIMA SATÕ: LAST RAYS OF LIGHT
Translated by William I Elliot with Reiko Nakagawa & Motoko Matsuo
Kodansha Shuppan Service Center
ISBN 4 87601 598 8
email Reiko Nakagawa
read a review of a book by Satarô Satô
Web design by
This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
|SHIMA SATÔ: LAST RAYS OF LIGHT|
LAST RAYS OF LIGHT is a collection of 100 Tanka. The author was born in 1913. She married Satarô Satô in 1938 and was widowed in 1986. These tanka were written between 1955 and 2000.
As her translator writes
The soul cannot count. It does not cast a shadow of thirty-one — or any other number of — syllables. Rossetti found it in "a cup of three", many haiku poets find it spread out in sixteen or eighteen petals and Satarô's soul sometimes cast thirty- or thirty-two-petalled shadows; nor does Shima's soul calculate what effect a tanka ought to have in translations down the line. Her tanka are already translations of her soul, the English becoming a translation of a translation and thus at three Platonic removes from reality. She would concur that we readers and translators (and writers) should not lose sight of the soul for the syllables.You cannot just read through a book like this from end to end. It is one of those books you must keep by you for months and open every so often. Read just two or three tanka at a time, let them stay with you for a day. This way the poet's soul will reach out to yours and make a difference to your day.
Here are a few for today
The ocean off the vast beach of Oristu roars exactly as an ocean should roar Whenever I come to the restaurant of the department store I observe others like myself dining alone Scads of magnolias loomed and lingered until at last autumn came From the hill the gale I thought raging turned out to be the sea's roaring Having still something to fret over goes to show, at least, that I'm not in my dotage.
|reviewer: Gerald England|