“The White Knife” – Emily Dickinson and the Apotheosis of Certainty

Poet and Philosopher Akira Dogesawa. “The Homestead” – Emily Dickinson House, Amherst MA

(Translated from the Japanese*)


Like you,
I have the gift
Of scent beyond the grave –

How your garden
Just here –

The stilled wingbeats
Of the fallen thousandth daughter
Of your hummingbird.



*Akira Dogesawa (aka “The White Knife”) b. 2013.

In Japan, Shiba Inus were traditionally bred to hunt small game such as birds and rabbits, and write Haiku.

N.B. Although rigorous honesty in poetry does not demand full disclosure, Akira was in fact born and raised in the United States. We are certain however that Japanese is still her first language, as her responses to even simple English commands are inconsistent, and she exhibits a strong preference for sushi.

14 thoughts on ““The White Knife” – Emily Dickinson and the Apotheosis of Certainty

  1. Perhaps the commands are understood, but reasonably ignored. The Koreans – and, I’ve been told the Japanese – have a word that translates as “nobody.” It’s used for anyone they wish not to acknowledge. Connect the dots, Master q. Brilliant poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually the word is gaijin which means foreigner or in their minds, nobody. Or even worse, tengu, long nosed demon. Akira Dogesawa, the Great Philosopher and Writer of Haiku is right on the money. Gaijin will never be Japanese – worse than nobody. I am the right height being only 4’10” but my round eyes give me away. Each stanza stands brilliantly and beautifully alone. Well done. One of your very best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You don’t know how happy that makes me. Your posts on Dickinson made me remember how much I love her poetry, and I’ve slowly been going back and re-reading. Then yesterday, we found ourselves unexpectedly in Amherst, near the museum. I remembered the wonderful Haibun you wrote about it, and how often you visited, so was very excited.

      Akira (“clear and bright” in Japanese, is that correct?) is a big part of my writing process – she gives me thinking time as we walk, and adventures large and small. As we walked the grounds before the tour, the way she was attuned to every living (and dead) thing around her, made her seem so much closer to Dickinson than I could ever be. All the humor aside, I hope that made it into the poem.

      I tried to write a poem that honors her to the best of my ability. And I imagine that Carlos would have enjoyed a game of chase with Akira around the garden.


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