BD. Edmund Blunden: Primary Materials
1. Poems in London Mercury 10 (October 1924): 574-76.
Both works noted are reprinted in The Augustan Books of Modern Poetry: Edmund Blunden (London: Benn, 1925) and Blunden’s English Poems (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1926; rev. ed. London: Duckworth, 1929). See also 188.
a. A ‘First Impression’: Tokyo. The speaker, ‘come to this strange roof, / Beyond broad seas, half round the weary world’, imagines the ghost of his ‘vanished child’, but then he sees ‘from neighbouring doors slid back along their grooves’ other ‘Small children scurrying, with the hastiest joy’, and reflecting upon the sight later, though he still feels the loss of his own child, says he ‘glittered with their light, / and loved them, as if kindred of my own’. References to the dead child are to Blunden’s daughter Joy, who died in 1919 at the age of forty days. The house to which the poem refers would have been Blunden’s first residence in Tokyo, at number 25 Kitayamabushi-cho, Ushigome-ku, next door to Ichikawa Sanki, chair of English at the Imperial University (Ap). The house was later removed to Seijô in the Tokyo suburbs, and according to Sone (in 179d) was still standing in 1960. Sakai (185e) speculates that the children in the poem are Ichikawa’s. Reprinted in Best Poems of 1924 (London: Cape, 1925), and in 18, 30, and 125.
b. The Daimyo’s Pond. The pond of the title belonged to the estate of the Maeda daimyô before the land was deeded to Tokyo Imperial University. The poem describes the natural beauty of the pond and an old man summoning the ‘great fishes’ to the surface by beating on a wooden bucket as if it were a drum. The summoning becomes a metaphor for poetic creation, and the speaker wishes to ‘bring many a mystery from life’s shadowy pool’. Except the title, the carp, and the method of summoning them, the poem contains nothing that could not be occasioned by a pond in England. Reprinted, slightly revised, in 14, 18, 30, 165, and 168. Blunden’s note in 14 says the poem was ‘written almost on [his] first view of the lake in the University grounds, in 1924’.