Yone Noguchi

Kyoto (1908)

Mist-born Kyoto, the city of scent and prayer,
Like a dream half-fading, she lingers on:
The oldest song of a forgotten pagoda bell
Is the Kamo river’s twilight song.

The girls, half whisper and half love,
As old as a straying moon beam,
Flutter on the streets gods built,
Lightly carrying Spring and passion.

“Stop a while with me,” I said.
They turned their powdered necks. How delicious!
“No, thank you, some other time,” they replied.
Oh, such a smile like the breath of a rose!






For an overview of Noguchi’s relation to English literature see the Bibliography D15. ‘Kyoto’ appeared in The Pilgrimage (D15e4), a work Noguchi sent to Ezra Pound in 1911 and that Pound found ‘rather beautiful’ (BK77a). For notes about the relation of Noguchi and Pound see D15a.

For a note about Noguchi’s work that is in print see Spirits of Fuji Mountain.


















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