The Keepsake Left Behind

My love is as the path through the bamboo groves;
With the coming of the autumn wind was an endless fall of dewdrops.

A gifted scholar and teacher, the late Roselee Bundy focused much of her study on poetry, specifically poems written by women in Medieval Japan. When, how, and why did these women write poems? Why should we care? Dr. Bundy, Professor Emerita of Japanese Language and Literature at Kalamazoo College, spent more than three decades exploring these questions. The legacy of her explorations is the subject of the 2022 Nagai Kafu Lecture by Christina Laffin, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair of Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture at the University of British Columbia. Roselee was a lover of books and generous reviewer of books, so her legacy includes a trove of reading (measured by truckload!) as well as a posthumous gift to support study abroad and travel to support K students’ scholarly work in East Asian studies. All things have song and sound, and poetry was a way in. These woman poets, contended Rose, wrote poems to open a rich life and landscape of mind that transcended loss and the borders of self, community, gender, and nation. Among Rose’s many translations is the following by Izumi Shibiku:

Never did I think
that I myself, still living,
not forgetting,
would become the keepsake
you have left behind.