Treasure Island

Akiko Yosano

(7 December 1878 - 29 May 1942 / Sakai)

In Praise Of May


May is a fancy month, a flower month,
The month of buds, the month of scents, the month of colors,
The month of poplars, marrons, plantanes,
Azaleas, tree peonies, wisteria, redbud,
Lilacs, tulips, poppies,
The month women’s cloths turn
Light and thin, the month of love,
The festival month Kyoto residents
In twirled crowns, arrows on their backs,
Compete in horse races,
The month girls in the City of Paris
Choose for the Flower Festival
A beautiful, noble queen;
If I may speak of myself,
It’s the month I crossed Siberia, crossed Germany,
Longing for my love,
And arrived in that distant Paris,
The month to celebrate our fourth son,
Auguste, born last year,
With irises, swords, and streamers,
The breezy month, the month of
The blue moon, of platinum-colored clouds,
When the bright sky and the hemp palm
Outside the window of my small study
Remind me of a Malay island,
The month of honeybees, the month of butterflies,
The month of birth when ants turn into moths
And canaries hatch their eggs,
The sensual month, the month of flesh
That somehow incites you,
The month of Vous voulez wine, of perfumes,
Of dances, of music, and of songs,
The month of the sun when
Myriad things inside me
Hold one another tight, become entangled,
Moan, kiss, and sweat, the month
Of the blue sea, of the forest, of the park, of the fountains,
Of the garden, of the terrace, of the gazebo,
So here comes May
To toss at us a giddiness
Sweet as the lemonade you suck with a straw
From a thin, skinny glass.


Translation by Hiroaki Sato

Submitted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Edited: Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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