by Naoshi Koriyama

I can judge a poem now
Like a skilled critic.

A poem is good,
If it rises in the heart
Just as the tide rises
To feel the bay;

A poem is good,
If it rings in the heart’s ears
As resounding
As the midnight Ocean beating ceaselessly
Upon the island’s coral reefs:

A poem is good,
If it presses the heart
With gradual intensity
Just as the wild red berries get heavier
In the bamboo basket
As one picks them
Over the hillside in May’s sun.

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