Four Seasons
The Wonderful World of Japanese Writers of English

Basic - Intermediate

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

"Time and Space"
by Koriyama Noshi

Pre-Reading Exercise

Reading Without A Dictionary:
Vocabulary Build-Up
The following sentences include words from the poem "Time and Space". Study them carefully and decide which answer is correct.
Click to find out if you are right or wrong.

1. He failed the test three times, but he keeps on trying.
Keeps on means ...
a. he is sure to pass next time
b. he doesn't give up
c. doesn't care if he fails

2. The fireman did not fear death but climbed the building gallantly.
Gallantly, here, is the same as ...
a. bravely
b. fire
c. macho

3. The ship was heaving against the stormy seas.
Heaving tells us that the ship was ...
a. sinking slowly
b. moving up and down
c. like the Titanic

4. The computer has been working ceaselessly for 23 hours.
Ceaselessly means ...
a. stopping for lunch only
b. without stopping
c. slow and fast

5. Tom's mother told him to stop leaning against the wall and to stand up straight.
Leaning, here, tells us that ...
a. the wall was higher
b. his body was against the wall
c. his mother was angry

6. Because the water pulled the child into the river during the rainy season, the people decided to put up railings to protect everyone.
Railings refer to ...
a. iron bars
b. boats
c. trains

7. A ship usually has two decks, a lower and an upper.
Decks is the same as ...
a. levels
b. tennis
c. pool

Time and Space
by Koriyama Naoshi

the ocean liner
keeps on sailing
riding over
heaving surges
of the open sea
as time flows on
the heartbeat
of the passenger
who is leaning
against the railing
of the topmost deck
looking up
into the sky
millions of stars
are sailing



1. Is the ocean liner at anchor or at sea?

2. Is it daytime or nighttime?

3. Where is the passenger?

4. What are "millions of stars" doing?

5. What does the poet want to tell us in this poem?

Not many Japanese, or foreign writers for that matter, can boast of having had a poem published in a U.S. textbook. Prof. Koriyama Naoshi, however, a far from boastful man, has had his poem Time and Space included in a literature textbook for 10th-grade high school students. After graduating from Kagoshima University, he studied in New Mexico for a year, and he later earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, N.Y. His publications include Coral Reefs, Songs from Sagamihara, and By the Lakeshore & Other Poems.
"Time and Space" by Koriyama Naoshi 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.