My back turned

Looking over Tokyo bay with Tokyo Tower visible in the distance.
Looking over Tokyo bay with Tokyo Tower visible in the distance.

みな人に
そむきてひとり
われゆかむ
わが悲しみは
ひとにゆるさじ

みなひとに
そむきてひとり
われゆかん
わがかなしみは
ひとにゆるさじ

My Back Turned

My back turned on all
I find my way alone.
My sorrows no one
can know.

Background

This poem was written in December 1907, the year to which Bokusui’s graduation from Waseda University was deferred. Bokusui had been influenced bv naturalism in literature and dreamt of becoming a novelist. Without returning back from Tokyo to his home town he became more committed to his decision to live as a writer.

However Bokusui was also experiencing the first pangs of love and this poem reflects the sorrows he embraced at that time. He tells himself that his path through life will be lonely.

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