At New Year (1990)
Fumiko, it was your idea
A coaster lay off in the tide,
On Tsu beach a driftwood fire
world pasts, each unstaunched nation
Last letters, a spattered uniform,
emblems from a dream of empire,
Feet stretched under a kotatsu
Half a life she’s kept his shrine
Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953. He has taught in Japan since March 1989, first at Kyoto University and since April 1991 at Tohoku University at Sendai, where he is Visiting Professor of English Literature. He is the author of five collections of verse from Carcanet Press, Selected Poems (2003), About Time Too (2001), Lost and Found (1997), Entertaining Fates (1992), and This Other Life (1988). ‘At New Year’ appears in Lost and Found. The poem is addressed to Fumiko Horikawa.
Peter Robinson’s other books include Poetry, Poets, Readers: Making Things Happen (Oxford UP, 2002, available in the UK here, in the US here), In the Circumstances: About Poems and Poets (Oxford UP, 1992, available here and here), and the translations The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems (Tonbridge, Kent: Worple Press, 2002, available in the UK here), When I Was at My Most Beautiful and Other Poems 1953-1982, by Noriko Ibaragi (with Fumiko Horikawa, Cambridge: Skate Press, 1992), and Selected Poems of Vittorio Sereni (with Marcus Perryman, London: Anvil Press, 1990, available here and here).
Further on-line information about Robinson and his work may be found at Peter Robinson’s own web site, here.