Poet of today in Kyoto,
Japan: Takashi Arima
Along a road lined with green gingko trees
a big American
junior high school girl
walks like a boy,
shaking her body to right and left,
talks with her
on her way to
the mission school
a little to
Crossing the southern approach to
passing the Tadasunomori Police Box,
inclines her blond
At the end of a sky-blue fence on her
column, bigger than the girl, stands.
Strange kanji, thick and big, are
inscribed on it:
Did she actually read it with her clear, blue eyes,
the archaic inscription, made by a shrine priest
decorated with an order,
to commemorate the 2.600th year of Japan’s founding?
She shook her knapsack lightly,
turned toward her classmates
who were walking ahead of her,
and caught them, walking with strides
past a crossing with a blinking signal.
“Hakko ichi-u” means
“making the world one home”.
During World War II, this word was used as a slogan
for propagating Japan’s expansionist policy.
away, don’t hesitate.
don’t need at your death
you keep in your house
you miss your hospitalized wife.
newspaper, leaflets, magazines
letters, files, scraps
boxes, small articles, tools, mementos
you’ve kept without any reason.
them away, to the very last.
away, don’t hesitate!
you lose a clear consciousness
your limbs become wizened.
them into pallid vinyl bags
with your disconnected memory!
KYOTO, My Ancient and Modern City
the Tatsumi Bridge
Whether the liquid in your cup is
water of life, or water of madness –
that doesn’t matter, just get intoxicated
make your life a dream of dreams.
A shallow stream murmurs
if you ramble on the stone pavement
blown by a chilly, nipping wind
never sober up!
Even an old tree in that forest
has a young branch with green leaves
stretching from the slant, half-rotten trunk.
I thrust my way through a knee-high thicket
like a wounded animal
stretch my arms awkwardly
take deep breaths slowly.
My neck and waist joints creak
my eyes grow dim
a sharp pain runs from my shoulder across my back.
The air in the Tadasu forest is cold and clear
morning sunlight from the East Mountains
sifts down through branches.
I, alone, follow an animal trail.
The Tatsumi Bridge spans a small river in Gion,
a traditional bar district.
The Tadasu Forest is located around Shimogamo Shrine,
designated a World Cultural Heritage.