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On One Brightly-lit Night by Noriko Konuma

Updated: Mar 1

Noriko Konuma has lived in England since 1995. Then a twenty-nine year old Japanese woman, she settled in the country with three suitcases. Previously shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature Open Poetry Competition in 2020 and 2023, and in Magma Magazine Issue 78, Konuma started to write poems in English while studying for an MA in English Literature in 2014. After being awarded the MA in 2018, she attended the Faber Poetry Salon in 2019. Although her mother tongue is Japanese and she still speaks Japanese with her Japanese friends and students, Konuma prefers writing poems in English as she feels more affinity with England and its language in her thoughts and contemplations. Konuma enjoys using the 'borrowed instrument' of the English language for composing her poems.

Konuma works as a copywriter, translator and Japanese teacher. She lives in the Cotswolds with a black cat.


Every night is an imitation of death. Without that I would have killed myself long ago.   The Italian Girl, Iris Murdoch

It was night, a full moon brightly floating

on the deep sky and the air quietening.

The moonlit floor was bright and shadows long.


No-one was awake, time was dead, or asleep like

people sleep. I thought I was the only thing moving, breaking

stillness, but my black cat too was awake, following.


She walked in quiet consonants and,

disappeared into, and came out of, the dark shadows

like a sewing machine’s regular stitches.


No owls. No halo of the moon. It was cold,

but not frosty. Nor were you there. You must have been

asleep in your own bed, away from me.


Loneliness did not bite me this time, yet the

greyish-white moon reminded me of the vigilance

I wore in Japan, at the house I grew up in.


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