Ciaran Carson

The Rising Sun (1998)

As I was driven into smoky Tokyo,
The yen declined again. It had been going down
All day against the buoyant Hibernian Pound.
Black rain descended like a harp arpeggio.

The Professor took me to a bonsai garden
To imbibe some thimblefuls of Japanese poteen.
We wandered through the forest of the books of Arden.
The number of their syllables was seventeen.

I met a maiden from Hiroshima who played
The hammer dulcimer like psychedelic rain.
The rising sun was hid behind a cloud of jade.

She sang to me of Fujiyama and of Zen,
Of yin and yang, and politics, and crack cocaine,
And Plato’s caverns, which are measureless to men.


































Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. Among other works he is author of The Irish for No (The Gallery Press, 1987), which won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award; Belfast Confetti (The Gallery Press, 1990), which won the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry; First Language (The Gallery Press, 1993), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize; Last Night’s Fun: About Time, Food and Music (Cape, 1996); The Star Factory (Granta Books, 1997); The Twelfth of Never (The Gallery Press, 1998); Fishing for Amber (Granta, 1999); Shamrock Tea (Granta, 2001); Selected Poems (Wake Forest UP, 2001); and Breaking News (The Gallery Press, 2003), which won the the Forward Poetry Prize for best poetry collection of the year. ‘The Rising Sun’ appeared in The Twelfth of Never, is © The Gallery Press, and appears here with the kind permission of The Gallery Press and Ciaran Carson. For further information see the Ciaran Carson page at

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