Poet of today from Otsu, Japan

 

Kiyoko Ogawa

 

The Left Hand's Job

 

When your right hand wants to write with a fountain pen,

it's your left hand that unfastens its cap.

When your right hand wants to put itself into your jacket's sleeve,

it's your left hand that leads the other one from the sleeve's edge

to your shoulder.

 

When you play the violin,

you hold the bow in your right hand,

while your left hand clutches the neck, responsible for fingering.

The absolute specialisation of this instrument's manipulation.

 

When you play the piano,

your left hand may start with the accompaniment of

do-mi-sol, fa-la-do and sol-si-re, then

it may play the role of soft chords.

Moreover, the left hand pursues and responds to the right hand.

It continues to play the main melody on the lower keys.

Occasionally the right hand and the left hand cross over the keyboard.

The grand stage of perfect fusion!

A certain artist even composed pieces solely for the left hand for his friend.

 

When we were living in Hiroshima a decade ago,

there was a rice dealer wearing a long-sleeve clothes all the year round.

He reticently went the rounds of customers every week.

It seemed the pika 1 robbed him of the lower left arm under his elbow.

Tightly sandwiching a ten-kilogramme rice bag between his upper arm

and his side,

he used to speak to me in his tender voice, 'Thank you, ma'am.'

 

Pika = The atomic bomb

 

 

And now, from the author,

the same poem in Japanese :

 

 

左手の仕事

         小川聖子

 

 

右手が万年筆でものを書きたがる時

キャップをはずしてくれるのは左手。

右手が腕を袖に通したい時

袖口から肩へ誘導してくれるのも左手。

 

ヴァイオリンを弾く時

右手に弓をかまえ

左手はネックを支えてフィンガリングを受けもつ。

この楽器の徹底分業ぶりにヒトの男女分業も顔色なし。

 

ピアノで左手はドミソファラドソシレの伴奏や

柔らかい和音を受けもつことから始まり

右手を追いかけたり、右手に呼応する。

低音部で主旋律を忙しく奏でつづけて獅子奮迅のはたらき。

時には左右の手が交差するピアノは

完全融合の大舞台!

ある芸術家は友人のために左手だけの作品を作曲した。

 

むかしヒロシマにすんでいた時

年中長袖の作業衣を着て

御用聞きにまわっていたお米屋さんがいた

左手の肘の関節から下をピカ2にうばわれたらしい。

十キロの米袋を左上腕と脇の間にがしっと挟み

「まいどどうも」ってやさしい声をかけてくれた。

 

 

1 原子爆弾。