Saturday, 20 of January of 2018

Nanao Sakaki – Manifesto

(1923-2008) An elusive figure of the counter culture, Nanao was renowned as a great walker and hiker whose poetry was full of surprise and deep irony. He was revered in Japan among followers of the ecological movement and young people living on the land.

I once spent the summer of 1985 living with Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen and Nanao for about eight weeks in Boulder, Colorado while NAROPA was in session.

One of my fondest memories of that time was when my car ran out of gas on a small hill at a busy intersection on Arapahoe Ave. I was driving Allen, Philip and Nanao back to 1001 Mapleton Ave where we were living.

When my car stalled–Allen jumped out of the car and had me open the hood. Several young men stopped to assist us as Allen sagaciously inspected the interior under the hood while traffic wildly swirled around us in the middle of the intersection.

Philip did nothing and remained sitting calmly in the back seat while Allen was engaged in various discussions with the young mechanics. Nanao disappeared and returned about 20 minutes later with a red gasoline can filling the gas tank without a word. He knew exactly what to do! (from Poetry Mind )



Hokkaido island will be an independent country.
Because the sea of Okhutsk, the mother ocean
dyes your heart pure indigo.
Because the primeval forest of Shretoko peninsula
dyes your heart pure green.
Because the snow-covered Sarobetsu wasteland
dyes your heart pure white.

Hokkaido island will be an independent country.
Because yeddo spruces soar in clouds.
Because giant angelica flowers flame up in summer.
Because there are countless edible plants and mushrooms.

Hokkaido island will be an independent country.
Because you could see irreplaceable wild beings –
grizzly bears, Blakiston’s fish owls,
black woodpeckers and Parnassus butterflies.

Hokkaido island will be an independent country
Because you can meet wonderful human animals –
fishermen, farmers, mountain men, hobos,
musicians, artists, poets.

Hokkaido island will be an independent country
Because you can love delightful birds –
kids, women and men.

This island is made as a garland
No nuclear power plants
No agri-chemicals
No big corporations
No authorities
No arms.

We call this island Moshiri, the Peaceful Land –
after the Ainu’s name
Now together with
Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, New Guinea, Yunnan and Siberia
let’s start a Pacific Basin union.

And together with
Andromeda nebula, Orion constellation and
Magellanic clouds
let’s start a Federation
for the Universe.

September 1986/91

(Reprinted via indirect permission of Gulf of Maine Books) also see:

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