Poems on Japan




Tokyo (I)


Asia’s cherry and
Europe’s rose –
In the selfsame tree
Blossoms Japan’s soul.



Tokyo (II)


Citadel of silence
Dreams of the highest
In her answered query
Japan’s five-petaled cherry.


Tokyo (III)


Her body a land of duty

Her vital a fort of purity

Her mind an ocean of silence

Her heart an altar of simplicity

In her flourishes

Japan’s jewel Tokyo –
The joint streak

Of a smile from the Sun
And a tear from the Moon.


Japan (I)


In a land of beauty
Sprouts from the earth

A body of purity and
A temple of silence

Scattering moonlight
In starclad firmament



Sakura sakura


The life and dynamism
And people of elegance

Skies of silence-vast
And Tokyo’s might

All bow to the minute merry
Of Japan’s blossomed cherry





First time there was no expectation,

But this time I know what to expect

And still I am surprised.



Tokyo mother


Her worshippable duty

Raising her children

In a bicycle seated

The world inhales



Japanese language

is that which

the more I know

the less I know

the more I like

the more I like

the more I understand

and the less I understand

– the more I like.


I like its charming childlike sounds

I like its hide-and-seek of words

I like its beautifying of words

I like its addition of non-words to words

I like its love of structure and non-structure

I like its cadence more like a train with a few clear stops

I am refreshed by its simple grammar and few exceptions

and baffled by its writing system

adopted from Chinese and made irregular and chaotic

so that I dare not guess-read the names of my japanese friends

so as not to call them “lion-cub-rice-field-swamp”

and last but not least

I love its loanwordmaking square-type forge

– by that it is made all the more childlike

and all the more beautiful

and I simply love it.

When near you

I am your babe-in-arms.





I sit and meditate

And read

And stand outside on the verandah

All silence

And beauty

Nishitokyo’s sky


I sit and meditate

And read

And stand outside on the verandah

Pure and crisp wind

Steals my heart away

I sit again

Find my heart

The wind takes it away


I sit and meditate

And read

And stand outside on the verandah


Do I return home

Or go away


-Patanga Cordeiro

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