Story Time – Cicada (Lafcadio Hearn) (Ep. 38)

In Episode 38, you can listen to Lafcadio Hearn’s whimsical take on the cicada (semi) while enjoying some real time cicada singing in the background.

A lot of the poems didn’t make it into the podcast. Here are a few:

“A very large number of Japanese poems about sémi describe the noise of the creatures as an affliction. To fully sympathize with the complaints of the poets, one must have heard certain varieties of Japanese cicadæ in full midsummer chorus; but even by readers without experience of the clamor, the following verses will probably be found suggestive:—

Waré hitori
Atsui yō nari,—
Sémi no koë!

Meseems that only I,—I alone among mortals,—
Ever suffered such heat!—oh, the noise of the sémi!

Ushiro kara
Tsukamu yō nari,—
Sémi no koë.

Oh, the noise of the sémi!—a pain of invisible seizure,—
Clutched in an enemy’s grasp,—caught by the hair from behind!”

Excerpt from Shadowings (Lafcadio Hearn), Semi (Cicada) available on Project Gutenberg.

Thank you for listening!


You can also find me on:


Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

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