Four Seasons
The Wonderful World of Japanese Writers of English

Basic - Intermediate

Here's an essay, story, and poem written originally in English.

"Frozen Love"
by Nagayama Mokuo

Pre-Reading Exercise

Reading Without A Dictionary:
Vocabulary Build-Up
The underlined words in the following sentences are from the poem "Frozen Love".
Try to understand what these words mean without consulting a dictionary.
Click to find if you are right or wrong.

1. My house in the mountains is made from solid rock.
Rock, here, means the house ...
a. is very strong
b. is made from one stone
c. can easily break

2. Security is important in life, so I want to make a lot of money.
Security is similar to ...
a. not caring about money
b. not going shopping
c. owning something

3.Carl Sandburg's face has a weathered look.
Weathered, here, tells us that perhaps ...
a. he has had many ups and downs in his life
b. he doesn't like to go skiing any more
c. he only likes spring and autumn

4. I need to drink something - my throat is parched.
Parched means ...
a. dry
b. martini
c. cold

5. A baby crawls before walking.
Crawls tells us that the baby ...
a. jumps like a frog
b. uses arms and legs
c. walks backwards

6. When the teacher got angry, the little boy crouched under the desk.
Crouched could mean ...
a. to sit with arms around knees
b. to run away as fast as one can
c. to fall asleep while the teacher talks

7. He went on the slopes on his roller skates.
Slopes, here, means ...
a. a road going down
b. to practice on ice
c. to go up a hill

8. They kill people, dig a hole, and bury them.
Bury means the bodies are ...
a. put into the hole
b. burnt
c. frozen

Frozen Love
by Nagayama Mokuo

How many years is it
since I left the rocks
of solidity and security?
They have now been weathered
crumbling to pieces
and finally to sand

Tears are dry
over the losses
Smiles bitter
over the gains
Words die
on my parched lips

I crawl and crouch
on the slopes of time
and dig the sands of night
with my bloody fingers
and there
bury my frozen love

Comprehension Check
Multiple Choice Exercise
Choose the right answer from a, b, and c.
Click to find out if you are right or wrong.
a, b, c の中から上の文章の内容と一致するものを選びましょう。

1. The "rocks of stability and security" refers to ...
a. the beautiful Mt. Fuji
b. gold that is bought and sold
c. what makes you feel safe

2. Sand is often used as an image in poetry because ...
a. it is a good way to express the power of time
b. the word 'sandwich' does not sound as nice
c. sand storms are common all over the world

3."Smiles bitter over the gains" means ...
a. he cannot enjoy his good fortune
b. he enjoys good fortune but not bad
c. he enjoys good fortune only

4. The poet is unhappy because ...
a. he cannot make money as a poet
b. something of importance has been lost
c. his girlfriend went to America

Nagayama Mokuo's poetry through the years has been of a consistently high standard. Born and raised in Okayama, he later attended Doshisha College of Foreign Affairs. For a few years he worked as a translator, but later found his true vocation in the teaching profession. Nagayama's poetry has been published in literary journals around the world. They include International Poetry Year Book '83, '84 (U. S. A.); Whales: A Celebration '83 (Canada); Album of International Posts '82 (India); and Poetry: East & West '82 (Hong Kong).
"Frozen Love" by Nagayama Mokuo is from Four Seasons: An Anthology of Original Writing by Japanese Writers in English edited by John Pereira and the late Prof. Eugene O'Reilly and published in 1984.