Friday, April 20, 2018

NPM 4-20: Poems by Izumi Shikibu

Today I'm sharing 2 poems by Izumi Shikibu, a Japanese poet who lived more than a thousand years ago. You can learn a bit more about her at the Poetry Foundation.

From darkness
On a shadowed path
I must make my way;
Let it faintly shine,
The moon upon the mountain’s edge.

Varied are
The feelings in my heart
Soaking are my sleeves.

You can read more of her poems at Waka Poetry.

I  do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends.


  1. The first one is lovely, and I kind of feel like that's the feel I'm supposed to take in tankas, and never do. *cough*

    The second one makes me laugh - we went from the sublime to the ridiculous fairly quickly.

    1. The second one made me laugh too. I couldn't resist sharing it.

  2. These poems are spectacular. The image of the "soaking sleeves" creates a sorrowful image. The inversion in the first poem works beautifully. Both poems construct something akin to a riddle. They feel as though the surprise is suspended and then strikes the reader. Now I must read more.

  3. One of my favorite poems by Izumi Shikibu:

    I watch over
    the spring night­
    but no amount of guarding
    is enough to make it stay.

    Thanks for bringing her to mind!

  4. Isn't it wonderful to connect in poetry to someone who lived a thousand years ago? It's rather a lesson in knowing how much humans today and yesterday are connected. Thanks, Tricia.

  5. This makes me want to dig out my Japanese poetry book. Thank you!

  6. I like both of these, but that second one did make me laugh.

  7. I agree with Glenda about the poems' riddle-like quality. I do not know this poet. Thank you!