Poets from Japan



Takashi Arima


A song


You must be more prudent

than those contemplative politicians

in choosing your words

in order to focus the agitation

(he, he, he, he)


You must be more conservative

than those modest scholars

in preserving your innocence

so as to perfect your logic

(he, he, he, he)


You must be tougher

than those worrisome merchants

in improving your rhetorical skill

in order to refine your manner of expression

(he, he, he, he)


You must go further

than those witty journalists

in sharpening your sensibility

in order to raise questions

(he, he, he, he)











I am a camphor tree hardly noticed now by you.

I stand at the corner of Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park.

A young girl is chatting to the cellphone she holds to her ear.

A young man aims his digital camera at the historical remains.

An old man and his wife walk away dragging their wheeled bags.

And behind miscellaneous voices of many others

I am breathing quietly.


When we suffered a miserable defeat in the war,

at first I was up “on right-hand side”

on the eastern shore of the Motoyasu River.

Didn’t the radioactivity allow any trees or plants to grow?

Watching tidal currents

I grew up in the air smelling of floating algae.

After some years I realized

I had been moved to this place near the epicenter.

Flying doves saw me off.

Then your memories of me started to fade away.

Now nobody pays any attention to me.


Where is that vagabond from,

the short one with his hair dyed brown?

Some time ago taking no notice of me

he carelessly tossed away a cigarette butt.

Then crossing the bridge over the Motoyasu River

he disappeared near the tourist information center.

Kokoe hokasicha iken!” *

My green leaves were so frightened,

attacked by his nicotine fire,

they released pale camphor smoke.




I am a camphor tree now hardly noticed,

but you see,

even though exposed to exhaust gas of Aioi Street everyday,

even though sometimes hit by acid rain,

without withering, I will keep standing here.


*Kokoe hokasicha iken! means in Hiroshima dialect: “Don’t toss it away from here”.



An ancient camphor tree estimated to be over 1000 years old, in Japan. Author ja:利用者:139






Japanese original: A camphor tree in Hiroshima













Koichi Yakushigawa



  “Where Are You Going?”


Did you ask me so?

But to tell the truth,

I have no answer to you.

I have no idea where to go myself.

Day after day, I am walking,

walking without knowing where to go.

I know I have to do something.

I have not to stay doing nothing.

Doing nothing is wrong.

Doing something is my duty.


“Where are you going?”

It is my question to myself not yours.

Any place is all right,

if it is the place

where we have no smell of iron nor of oil.

I want the smell of grass,

I want the smell of water.

I want the smell of wind.

I have long forgotten

the roof-tiles shinning wet

under the moon light.

I have long forgotten many precious things.

I am just walking with no idea...

Yes, just walking.

And so please do not ask me

“Where are you going?”





Same poem, but in the Japanese original version :






























何処へ? なんて




Y ahora en la versión española de Mariette Cirerol:


“¿A dónde estás yendo?”


¿Y me lo preguntas?

Mas para decir la verdad

tengo que contestarte

que yo mismo no tengo idea de donde ir.

Día tras día, estoy caminando,

caminando sin rumbo fijo.

Sé que tengo que hacer algo,

que no tengo que quedarme sin  hacer nada.

No hacer nada es una equivocación.

Hacer algo es mi deber.


“¿A dónde estás yendo?”.

Es la cuestión que me hago a mí, no a ti.

Cualquier lugar es bueno

si es el lugar

donde no se huela a hiero ni a petróleo.

Quiero sentir el sabor de la hierba,

quiero sentir el sabor del agua,

quiero sentir el sabor del viento.

Hace tiempo que olvidé

el brillo húmedo de las tejas del tejado

bajo la luz de la luna.

Hace tiempo que olvidé muchas cosas preciosas.

Sólo estoy caminando sin idea fija,

sí, sólo caminando.

Y, por favor, no me preguntes

“¿A dónde estás yendo?”






Kiyoko Ogawa