In the year 2009, known as The Year of the Astronomy , was the project Space Poem Chain, organized by JAXA – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.(1)
Space Poem Chain or renshi (ren= linked; shi = poetry) is another form of linked verse based on the renga. It was written by poets from all the world, and it was initiated by the poet and critic Makoto Ooka, the one who has supervised the poems of the Space Poem Chain project. Renshi was the origin in the older poetry known as renga or renku, alternating 3 lines, 5 lines, and keeping the close links and the far off ones, known as the ” perfume links.” The astronauts Mamoro Mohri and Naoko Yamazaku have opened the Space Poem Chain, each with a poem. Selected poems are stored aboard the space module Kibo (Hope) of the ISS – International Space Station .
Thus, the foundation of The First Library of The Sky was laid.
I am very honoured and glad because in 2007 one of my poems was selected for the volume 2 of this project, named “The Stars.” My poem is (2) :
I have begun this travel on the morning when I was born.
A star from the depth of the sky is my guardian angel
watching with his own light, my body and my soul, and all my dreams.
At daybreak he sends me a dove at the window to teach me
to decipher the air signs of the sky home returning way.
Also, in 2009, I was again selected with the following poem (3) :
The way of the earth-born ones is a love dream.
I have it from my parents and I will take it with me
in the blue eternal night, as a part of my life.
In his comment, the poet Kiwao Nomura, selector for The Third Space Poem Chain, says: “Ms. Ifrim, a regular, gives the impression of being the possessor of a deep and calm poetic way of thought .Again using simple words , she speaks only the love and departure. All excess has been pared away. Such a work seemed to be the most suitable for connecting to astronaut Wakata.”
My poem is the link #24 and it was sent to astronaut Koichi Wakata who is on The International Space Station. In the movie made aboard of the space module Kibo, Wakata-san says:
“Reading the 24th link written by Ms. Clelia Ifrim , I felt we’ve been given a gift from our parents and also the mother earth. When I looked out of the window of Kibo, the beauty of the blue planet struck me and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift I received from it .” **
Astronaut Koichi Wakata has written the poem link 25 and his poem is “the first poem ever written by a human being in outer space,” and he sent it to the Terra. The poem written by Koichi Wakata-san is:
Afloat in the darkness before my eyes, the watery planet bluely glows
How strong is my affection for that ancient home of ours,
how deep my gratitude for the gift of life. /
Tomorrow, I will dare the blue sky and open up worlds unknown
for there we have our dreams
I’d like to remember other two Romanian poets who have participated in this Space Poem Chain project : Ecaterina Zazu Neagoe from Bucharest, who was twice semi-finalist, and Eduard Tara, from Iassy, who was selected with a haiku, in 2009.
And now, the link 26th, the last from the Space Poem Chain, a poem written by the poet Shuntaro Tanikawa :
Once again we are innocent newborns
infants tied by the umbilical cords of our invisible soul to this star, our home
seeking the answer hidden in the far off distance, asking, asking, without end.
(Published in “Lynx, A Journal for Linking Poets – XXV:1 February, 2010)
Original text in romanian :
French translation :