John Gould Fletcher

From the Japanese (1913)

I only live in the light:
Let there be light for me,
Or let the night come soon!

Summer’s rainbow-mantle of colour fades
Back, once again, to white.

I cry,
Echo answers faintly.
Echo is a poet.

A breeze ruffles the rain-pool.
—Even our griefs cannot find rest.
Aimlessly up and down they are tossed by the wind.

Snowflakes rise and fall on the wind:
Even Winter has her white flocks of silent birds.

I gazed through the mist:
Was it a goddess I saw?
—The mist silently lifted and showed me—an open tomb.




For an overview of Fletchers Japanese interests see John Gould Fletcher and Japan in the Bibliography. ‘From the Japanese’ (BH1) appeared in Visions of Evening (London: MacDonald, 1913). Fletcher admitted many years later that the ‘substance’ of the work is not, in fact, ‘from the Japanese’ (BH15).

Fletcher titles that are in print and include material related to his Japanese interests are Selected Poems of John Gould Fletcher ([BH20] available in the US here, the UK here), The Autobiography of John Gould Fletcher (Originally Life is my Song [BH13], in the US here), Selected Essays of John Gould Fletcher, edited by Lucas Carpenter ([BH21] in the US here).



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