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10 of the Best Geisha Poems 

The enigmatic aura of geishas has inspired many poets to write about them. This has resulted in a series of poems from poets around the world, that captures the essence of geisha culture and the world’s interest in their lives. 

Geisha are an iconic symbol of Japanese culture and have been fascinating the world for centuries with their grace, beauty, and talent. These skilled performers and entertainers are trained in traditional Japanese arts, such as music, dance, and tea ceremony, and are often seen in Japanese attire. 

A Geisha’s Beauty by Mel Reyes 

A Geisha’s Beauty’ by Mel Reyes is a good example of a geisha poem, as well as how the geisha tradition has inspired countless writers from all over the world to use geisha-related imagery to write poetry. 

This is a poem that explores the life of a geisha, portraying her as a beautiful and skilled performer who is also trapped in a life of servitude. The last lines include: 

Poor Geisha,

She weeps

At night all alone

The poem portrays the complexity of the geisha’s life, highlighting both her beauty and skill as a performer and her struggles as a woman trapped in a society that values her only for her ability to entertain men.

Geisha Poem by Philo Yan

This is another example of a lesser-known poem that focuses on the beauty and allure of the geisha tradition. The poem highlights the delicate features of the geisha, including her long, black hair. 

The geisha is portrayed as a lady in training, learning to sing, dance, and entertain with skill and grace. These three lines are in the second stanza

Features are so delicate,

Hair long, black as night.

Show your might, accumulate,

The poem encourages the geisha to show her might and accumulate experience, texture, color, and light. It suggests that the geisha’s beauty and grace are not just natural talents but also the result of hard work and dedication.

Kyoto City
Modern-day Kyoto, the contemporary and historical home of geisha culture

Geisha Poem by Khauri Teverbaugh

This poem portrays a geisha as a master at the art of teasing and pleasing. The poem highlights the geisha’s ability to love without truly loving and to become a mysterious consort at the call of others. Here are a few lines: 

A master at her arts of teasing…

and pleasing.

She loves without loving;

The geisha’s grace and fluidity are also depicted in the poem, as she dances and sings smooth melodies to distract one from their troubles. The poem suggests that the geisha’s enticing fragrance lingers in the air, adding to her allure.

Buried Secrets by Iolanda Scripca 

This poem portrays a sense of sadness and despair through the use of imagery and metaphors. Here are a few lines: 

geisha of the world

love is lost in illusions

freedom is her dream

The first stanza sets the tone of loneliness and sadness with the image of a dying seagull and the crying of stringless origami, which symbolizes the fragility of life and the emptiness that comes with it. The fourth stanza speaks of the loss of love and freedom, with the geisha dreaming of a life beyond illusions.

Japanese Geisha by Caryl Muzzey 

This poem celebrates the beauty and allure of geishas, who are highly skilled and trained performers in traditional Japanese arts. The poem emphasizes the geisha’s ability to convey emotions and thoughts through subtle gestures and movements, even without speaking. The first three lines read: 

Japanese geisha enthrall

with pleasure performing arts

gesturing words without voice

While this poem may not be well-known, it does a good job capturing the exoticism and mystique of the geisha tradition, portraying them as fascinating and alluring performers who captivate their audience with their artistry and grace.

A statue of Basho
A state of the famed haiku poet Bashō, whose influence can be felt in geisha poems

An Evening with the Geisha Mineko Iwaski by Carl Scott Harker 

This is an interesting addition to this list as it explicitly mentions Mineko Iwasaki, an incredibly famous geisha, and author who was the subject of the famous Memories of a Geisha, written by Arthur Golden. She wrote Geisha, A Life. The poem reads, in part: 

To sight Iwasaki

Is to awaken

On the first sunny day of spring

After a cold winter.

The poem describes the beauty and grace of Iwasaki, comparing her to natural elements such as a tigress, rain, and ocean spray. The speaker describes her movements as delicate and graceful, with hands that move like butterflies and arms that flow like ribbons in the breeze.

Geisha’s Tears by Phen Weston 

Geisha’s Tears’ by Phen Weston uses a little-known poetic form called a bussokusekika. It’s a form of a waka, and is very similar to a tanka, but has an extra line of seven syllables at the end. The first two lines read: 

Waters through heaven

fall among the crowded streets,

The poem suggests that the beauty of the geisha is both fragile and ephemeral and that even in the midst of her art, she is subject to the forces of nature and the harsh realities of life. The poem’s brevity and simplicity create a poignant and evocative image of the geisha, suggesting that her beauty and sadness are intertwined.

Silent Geisha by Mohan Chutani 

This is a very short three-line poem about geisha. The poet captures the contradiction and complexity of the geisha’s role in Japanese society. The geisha, known for her beauty, elegance, and skills in traditional arts, is also subject to the harsh realities of her profession.

The word “silent” in the title of the poem may suggest the idea of the geisha’s inner thoughts and emotions that remain hidden from the public eye, adding to her mystique and allure.

Haiku Inspiration
Many geisha poems also celebrate the beauty of Japan.

As I Journey East by Debbie Guzzi

This poem is slightly different than the others on this list as it speaks broadly about traveling “east.” The poem paints a vivid picture of the landscapes and traditions of the East, such as the fragile cherry blossoms, majestic mountains, and the scent of jasmine caught in the breeze. It also describes the legends and secrets of the past civilizations, such as the bonsai forests and the bamboo chimes. Here are a few lines: 

Legend says it was etched by the flowing tears 

of a young Geisha who cried all night

when she saw her red-budded lips mirrored in a lake.

The poem ends with a desire to capture Oriental beauty with bold paints and brushes, surrendering the promise to return one day because the heart wishes to dwell in this exotic land of splendors.

Lady of the Night by Maria Williams

This poem paints a picture of a woman (a geisha) who is both alluring and dangerous, with a beauty that is exotic and captivating. She is described as having hypnotic blue eyes, perfect crimson lips, and porcelain skin, making her the center of attention wherever she goes. One stanza includes the lines: 

Entrapped by shadows – A lady of chastity she is not

Embracing dusk welcomes her in it’s ever watchful sight

She the mysterious mistress that women love to hate

Despite her seductive exterior, the poem suggests that the Lady of the Night is searching for true love and sends out a lonely cry for the one who stole her heart and then bid her goodbye.


What are Geisha? 

Geisha are traditional female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various arts such as classical music, dance, games, conversation, and more. They are highly trained professionals who dedicate their lives to mastering their crafts and serving their clients gracefully and with hospitality.

Are there still geisha in Japan? 

There are still geisha in Japan, but their numbers have significantly decreased. The profession has also evolved, with many geisha working in modern entertainment industries or transitioning to other careers.

Where can I see geisha? 

Geisha can be seen in various places in Japan, but they are most commonly found in Kyoto, where they are called geiko. They can be seen performing at exclusive tea houses or attending private events.

What is a geisha’s job?

A geisha’s job involves entertaining clients through various art forms and engaging in conversation. They are expected to be knowledgeable about a wide range of topics and to provide a pleasant atmosphere for their clients.

Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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