Imitated from the Japanese

      by W. B. Yeats

A most astonishing thing—
Seventy years have I lived;

(Hurrah for the flowers of Spring
For Spring is here again.)

Seventy years have I lived
No ragged beggar-man,
Seventy years have I lived,
Seventy years man and boy,
And never have I danced for joy.

From Last Poems and Two Plays, Dublin, Ireland: Cuala Press, 1939. This 1938 poem is based on Yone Noguchi’s translations of hokku by Issa, as follows (see Noguchi dedicated his 1920 book, Japanese Hokkus, to Yeats.

How strange it is
That I should have lived fifty years!
Hallelujah to flower's spring!

First day of spring at last!
Fifty years I've lived, . . .
Not a beggar in rush-clothes!

Alas, fifty years have passed,
Having no night
When I danced in joy.