Contemplation: A Poem by Nogi Maresuki

Mountain and river, grass and tree, grow more barren;
for ten miles winds smell of blood in the fresh battlefield.
Conquering horses do not advance nor do men talk;
outside Jinzhou Castle, I stand in the setting sun.
— Nogi Maresuke

This captivated me, today. Quite unsure why… but I can imagine the scene so very perfectly.

The poem somehow advances into greatness, achieving it without trouble.

It seems most fitting for a grand Lieutenant General (Rikugun Chūjō) of the Imperial Japanese Army; for a loyal officer; for a careful and considerate commander…

I don’t think there is much more to add — in any case, the poem quite puts forward what I wished to convey. Perhaps, it cannot be formulated in other words except those already present in the poem…

Most interesting, isn’t it?



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  1. You should read some of the classic American pulp writers. Some of their sensitivities are very similar to yours 🙂

  2. Makes alot of sense, he was a man perfectly aware of his faults, especially after losing so many men in the siege of Port Arthur, which affected him greatly. As twisted as it is I have always liked the idea of suicide poems. I have no plans to off myself but if I did I probably would write one.

    1. I don’t think this would be considered a suicide poem. Nogi Maresuki was only in the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War when he wrote this, and he requested permission to commit suicide only after he returned to mainland Japan (that’s not to say he didn’t consider it earlier, but rather to express my opinion that one does not write a suicide poem that far in advance). I concur though with the notion that suicide poems’ idea is good and interesting.

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