Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Poem for Today

I am Completely Different


I am completely different.
Though I am wearing the same tie as yesterday,
am as poor as yesterday,
as good for nothing as yesterday,
today
I am completely different.
Though I am wearing the same clothes,
am as drunk as yesterday,
living as clumsily as yesterday, nevertheless
today
I am completely different.


Ah ---
I patiently close my eyes
on all the grins and smirks
on all the twisted smiles and horse laughs --
and glimpse then, inside me
one beautiful white butterfly
fluttering towards tomorrow.


Kuroda Saburo
(1919-1980) Important post-War Japanese poet, spent WWII in Java, known for his moving portrayal of family life, esp. his series of love poems, A Une Femme, & the collection he wrote for his daughter, With Little Yuri. ((translated by James Kirkup, Burning Girraffes: Modern and Contemporary Japanese Poetry. University of Salzberg Press, 1996)

2 comments:

Parrish Lantern said...

Four Thousand Days and Nights

In order for a single poem to come into existence,
you and I have to kill,
have to kill many things,
many lovable things, kill by shooting, kill by assassination,
kill by poisoning.
Look !

Out of the sky of four thousand days and nights,
just because we wanted the trembling tongue of one
small bird,
four thousand nights of silence and four thousand days
of counterlight
you and I killed by shooting.

Listen!

Out of all the cities of falling rain, smelting furnaces,
midsummer harbours, and coal mines,
just because we needed the tears of a single hungry child
four thousand clays of love and four thousand nights of
compassion
you and I killed by assassination.
Remember!
Just because we wanted the fear of one vagrant dog
who could see the things you and I couldn't see with our
eyes
and could hear the things you and I couldn't hear with our
ears,
four thousand nights of imagination and four thousand days
of chilling recollection
you and I killed by poison.

In order for a single poem to come
you and I have to kill beloved things.
This is the only way to bring back the dead to life.
You and I have to follow that way.
RYUICHI TAMURA

Will be publishing a post on Postwar Japanese poetry in a few weeks time.

James said...

Thanks for the poem. It is beautiful.