More Selections from Carter’s Traditional Japanese Poetry

Fujiwara no Teika, “Winter Morning”

After a full year
of gazing out, one morning
I open my door–
to at thin snowfall, frozen–
the far edge of loneliness.

The Go-Kyogoku Regent and Former Chancellor Fujiwara no Yoshitsune

A cricket cries out
near my straw mattress, in the cold
of a frosty night–
as I spread my robe
to spend the night alone.

Minamoto no Sanetomo, Winter, on the topic “white”

On a white sandspit
where seagulls have come to earth
snow has been falling–
and in the clearing sky above,
the clear gleam of the moon.

Same author, “Black”

In midnight gloom
as black as leopard-flower seeds,
off beyond the clouds,
hidden behind layers of cloud–
I hear wild geese calling.