Natsume Sōseki Poems

Natsume Sōseki (1867-1916) was not only a distinguished novelist but also a gifted poet. His poetry reflects a profound understanding of the human condition, capturing the essence of fleeting moments and the depths of emotion.

With delicate and introspective verses, Sōseki’s poems transport readers into a world of contemplation and evoke a deep sense of connection to nature and the human experience.

Plum flower temple

by Natsume Sōseki

‘Plum flower temple’ by Natsume Sōseki is a beautiful, contemplative haiku that explores the natural world around a temple and quiet voices rising in the distance. 

Sōseki's haiku effectively captures a serene and harmonious scene in nature and serves as a great example of the poet's skill with verse, something that is often less-commonly appreciated. The poem demonstrates that Sōseki was just a good of poet as novelist.

Plum flower temple:

Voices rise

From the foothills.

The lamp once out

by Natsume Sōseki

‘The lamp once out’ by Natsume Sōseki is a beautiful and thoughtful poem about the way that, once a lamp is out, one can actually see more. The stars appear in the window frame, something you can’t see with the lamp on. 

This is a very good example of Natsume Sōseki's poetry. It is a haiku and demonstrates the best features of this distinctly Japanese form of verse. The poem engages with beautiful images, ones that are highly interesting and hard to forget, while also speaking simply about light and dark and life and death. The poem is quite short, but it still makes quite an impact, something that readers are sure to notice right away.

The lamp once out

Cool stars enter

The window frame.

The crow has flown away

by Natsume Sōseki

‘The crow has flown away’ by Natsume Sōseki is a beautifully contemplative haiku about a crow, tree, and the whole natural world

This is a good, although not very well-known, example of Sōseki's verse. This poem showcases his ability to capture the essence of nature. Through concise language, Sōseki contemplates the subtleties of existence, drawing attention to the ordinary moments often overlooked.

The crow has flown away;

swaying in the evening sun,

a leafless tree.

Over the wintry

by Natsume Sōseki

‘Over the wintry’ by Natsume Sōseki is a short, evocative poem that captures the desolate beauty of a winter landscape. It’s written in the form of a haiku.

Natsume Sōseki's 'Over the wintry' is a wonderful example of his verse. His poetry showcases his introspective and contemplative nature, delving into themes of human emotions and the beauty of nature. His concise and evocative style in this poem captures profound moments with simplicity and precision. This piece should be regarded as one of the poet's best examples of verse and read alongside some of the best 19th-century Japanese poetry.

Over the wintry

forest, winds howl in rage

with no leaves to blow.

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