Tada Chimako


My mirror is always a little taller than I am.
It laughs a little later than I laugh.
I blush like a boiled crab,
and cut off a projection of myself with my nail scissors.

When I let my lips approach the mirror,
it blurs, and I vanish beyond my sighs,
as a nobleman disappears behind his crest,
and a blackguard behind his tatoo.

My mirror is the cemetery of smiles.
Traveler, when you come to Lakaidaimon,
tell them that there stands here a grave,
painted white with heavy makeup,
with only wind blowing in the mirror.

    Japanese; trans. Kenneth Rexroth & Ikuko Atsumi

Tada Chimako, Japanese, trans. Kenneth Rexroth & Ikuko Atsumi,
The Burning Heart: Women Poets of Japan, The Seabury Press,