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.