Poets from Japan

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Koichi Yakushigawa

 

BIG  MOUTH

 

Big mouth is open.

It looks like an octopus-vase

upside down.

Shouting loud?

Clamoring against?

Roaring rapture?

Ejaculation?

Big eye-balls,

now jumping out.

What did the eyes see?

What did the ear hear?

Everybody sneaks away,

on seeing me with the face doubtful.

Have you opened your mouth so wide?

Have you opened your eyes so big?

You have seen

a horrible scene,

so horrible as

no one has ever seen.

 

 

A quiet afternoon

It is a quiet afternoon

in this old and peaceful city.

In Africa and in Middle East

explosion is roaring around,

machine-gun is screaming.

With thin limbs and big eyes,

with their face all dead,

children are sitting

beside their mother.

Words are keen,

words are void.

Conference is

craving void.

In the beginning

was the Word.

The Word was with God.

Today word is

but not with god.

 

I am here

at the back yard of a temple

I am thinking of

a young princess,

praying for her

at the quiet yard.

It is a quiet afternoon.

Warm time

flowing soft,

upon my cheek.

 

 

 

 

 

2011 was a hard year. 

 

We could not forget 3, 11th. 

 

TV-news

ran over the world and the terrible vision grasped our mind.  It reminded us of the day 9. 11.  Also it wrenched away from me the meaning and intention of taking pictures.

 

It is true that I felt it impossible to express the scene by words.  I felt the word powerless.  I felt it even presumptuous to ask what poetry could do at this fatal moment.  Nevertheless, I felt it a duty for me to write poems and to face the stone Buddha.  It was the only way left for me.

 

The trilogy of Poems and Photos on Stone Buddha has got to the goal.  The way was not smooth.  Especially the last volume should leaped over the highest hurdle.  “Talking with Stone Buddha” is the title of the volume.  It should take the style of dialogue.  How to make the stone Buddha speak perplexed me.  I had no idea how to overcome the problem. 

 

After a hard time, I got an idea.  Stone Buddha would not be an objective thing.  It would be an ambivalent existence, my opposing self.  Then the dialogue should be made within myself.  The trilogy would not be three different worlds but a world within world.

 

I may have made a meaningless pilgrimage of nominalism.  But

I think it all right.  I am now satisfied with my pilgrimage.  I have made a pleasant dialogue with Stone Buddha.  They have showed myself in many objective figures.  Today we have long lost ourselves.  My trilogy is a little work but it is meaningful to me.  It gave me a rare chance of recovering myself.   

 

Koichi Yakushigawa

 

AIR shall publish more of the trilogy on following issues

 

 

 

 

Kiyoko Ogawa

 

Shadow of Shadow

 

“After all, Shadow becomes me”

sulked I and went into Shadow,

then Shadow disappeared.

This is light,

there is I,

therefore is Shadow, which might have been

a tacit proof of my being.

 

This discovery in the South Pacific

may be too naive, and I know

I’ll have to sink down again

into Shadow of Shadow

when I get back to Japan.

But just for now,

forgetting that unhealthy Theory of Ideas  *

let us simply respect

Shadow’s silent Greatness.

 

 

* Advocated by Plato, in which Idea is absolutely existing Light causes each individual being to exist as its Shadow; Shadow is nothing but an incomplete imitation of its prototype.

 

From her book BROKEN TABOO

 

 

 

 

A dialogue with a German professor in Kyoto

 

HOST: This house was built about one hundred and twenty years ago. Please be careful on the stairs.

 

PROFESSOR: Ah, how steep this staircase is! (both upstairs now)

 

HOST: This room used to be the study of my late father.

 

PROFESSOR: Did the library all belong to him?

 

HOST: Yes, most of it. He was kind of an eternal youth of literature. How do you call such a person in German?

 

PROFESSOR: ... ...

 

HOST: Well, Professor K, Have a look on the other side. On the left side of the alcove, there is a staggered shelf.

 

PROFESSOR: (Taking up a small photo frame sitting on the shell, he started at it for a while)  Who is this soldier?

 

HOST: My own father just before he was drafted during the Second World War.

 

PROFESSOR: How old was he then?

 

HOST: Nineteen.

 

PROFESSOR: But isn’t a sword that is placed against his right arm?

 

HOST: Yes, it was a genuine Japanese sword.

 

PROFESSOR: Did he fight with such a sword? Was he not given a gun instead?

 

HOST: No, Prof K. He ws a student soldier and trained in our homeland, while other uncles of mine fought abroad. In the meanwhile the War ended and he returned to his university.

 

PROFESSOR: But what became of the sword?

 

HOST: He kept it to himself until his death. He cherished it because his own father managed to purchase it at a high price in an age of food shortage. Soon after his death I took it on the shoulder to the local police office. It was so heavy, I felt as if I were carrying his body.

 

PROFESSOR: Did they confiscate it there?

 

HOST: No, I returned it peacefully. It was the right legal procedure. The century had already turned.

 

The professor revealed

a sense of pity to the sword.

A nameless man concluded his life

without triggering, without strife.

 

 

Sword sharpener practicing his trade, around 1909

 

 

 

Blacksmith Munechika (end of the 10th century), helped by a fox spirit, forging the blade kogitsune-maru ("Little fox"). The spirit is represented by a woman surrounded by foxes. Engraving by Ogata Gekkō (1859–1920), in 1873. 

                                                              (Found in the Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Takashi Arima

 

An Impromptu on Macao

 

Morning –

In the Camoes Park

old Chinese women, in a thicket,

did gymnastics slowly.

 

Afternoon –

In the Vasco da Gama Park

children from the neighborhood

played near the fountain, speaking Chinese.

 

All day long

I toured the city

but I seldom saw

Portuguese of today.

 

 

Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau

 

 

Temple A- in Macau, now China., dedicated to Goddess Matsu

Shot by Francisco Cheong Hei Chon in 2005