“Night” by Kawamoto Rokuseki

What are you trying to say?
Rainfall on the plateau
desolately striking the keyboard of night,
the dark sky about to fall asleep
in the puddle over there,
even the chirping of the crickets
leaking out through my thin fingers
Oh, what are you trying to say?

(from his collection Dream Fragments)



君は何を言はうとするのか
高原の雨音は
淋しく夜の鍵盤をうち
そこらの水溜りに
暗い夜空がねむらうとし
虫の声さへ
かぼそき指の間からもれ出る
ああ、君は何を言はうとするのか。

Advertisement

“Morning on the Mountain Path” by Kawamoto Rokuseki

Autumn flowers
sway on the mountain path in the morning,
a lonely-looking dragonfly
drifts into tomorrow overflowing with color,
a copper-faced mountain hermit
conceals the sound of cutting grass,
oh, this passing quiet landscape
I wish I could put it in a sky-blue envelope
and send it to your soft lap.

(from his collection Dream Fragments)

山路の朝

秋の草花は
山路の朝に揺れる、
淋しげなる蜻蛉が
こぼれそめた朝日を流れる、
赤銅の顔をした山人が
草刈る音をしのばせる、
ああ、かかる静かなる風景を
空色の封筒に入れ
君が柔かき膝に送りたいよ。

“Autumn on the Plateau” by Kawamoto Rokuseki

Autumn on the Plateau

Day after day the cold wind drifts through
Consider the gloomy plateau
cold creatures stained red with blood
wander beyond the darkening hill
Autumn on the plateau
time gets colder, heavier, accumulating
into the shape of a lonely red dragonfly
that drifts along without knowing where it’s going.

(From his collection Dream Fragments)

高原の秋

日毎に冷い風が流れる
薄暗い高原を思へ
赤く血に染つた冷い生物が
暮れゆく丘陵のかなたに彷徨ふ
高原の秋の
段々と冷く重くかさみゆく時
寂しき赤とんぼの形にて
ゆくへも知らず流れゆくものを。

“Get Through Today” by Nobuyasu Okabayashi (今日をこえて–岡林信康)

Stop your fretting, that’s enough
Today’s passing yesterday by
Stop listening to yesterday, that’s enough
Today has passed, you have tomorrow

You’ve got to say something
Try to be a good, obedient kid
And you’ll never understand
Get through today
Start living for tomorrow

Stop clinging to the past, that’s enough
Today’s already yesterday
Stop acting so proper, that’s enough
Tomorrow’s already yesterday

You’ve got to say something
Try to be a good, obedient kid
And you’ll never understand
Get through today
Start living for tomorrow

Original lyrics:

くよくよするのはもうやめさ
今日はきのうを越えている
きのうに聞くのももうやめさ
今日を越えた明日がある

何とでも云うがいいさ
よい子でいたいお利口さん
あんたにゃわかるまい
今日をのりこえて
明日に生きることなんか

しがみつくのはもうやめさ
今日もきのうになっちまう
利□ぶるのももうやめさ
明日もきのうになっちまう

何とでも云うがいいさ
よい子でいたいお利口さん
あんたにゃわかるまい
今日をのりこえて
明日に生きることなんか

The Long Journey to Freedom by Nobuyasu Okabayashi (自由への長い旅–岡林 信康)

Suddenly it’s like I’m not myself anymore
Like a leaf fluttering in the wind, like a boat set adrift
To get back to myself again
I’m bidding farewell to the world I know and taking a trip
I want to believe, so I’ll keep going uncertainly
Alone on the long journey to freedom
Another day on the long journey to freedom

I don’t know where this road leads
I only know that I’ll finally get somewhere
What kind of place will it be?
What will I find there?
Without knowing, all alone, I’m bidding farewell and taking a trip
I want to believe, so I’ll keep going uncertainly
Alone on the long journey to freedom
Another day on the long journey to freedom

Original lyrics:

いつのまにか私が 私でないような
枯葉が風に舞うように 小舟がただようように
私がもう一度 私になる為に
育ててくれた 世界に別れを告げて旅立つ
信じたいために うたがいつづける
自由への長い旅を一人
自由への長い旅を今日も

この道がどこを とおるのか知らない
知っているのは たどりつくところが
あることだけ
そこがどこになるのか
そこでなにがあるのか
わからないまま一人で別れを告げて 旅立つ
信じたいために うたがいつづける
自由への長い旅を一人
自由への長い旅を今日も

Nobuyasu Okabayashi is a Japanese folk singer whose career dates back to the late 1960s. His style and social and political messaging quickly drew comparisons to Bob Dylan, an artist he covered early on in his career. This song is taken from his 1970 album 見るまえに跳べ (Leap Before You Look), which featured the newly-formed Happy End, who became one of Japan’s most famous folk-rock groups, as his backing band. The entire album can be heard on YouTube (highly recommended).

Pathway (道程) by Tate Takako (タテタカコ)

When walking the path alone
and feeling lonely
all warm creatures
reach out for one another

If desire is human nature
then even though violent waves are in our way
we will see somewhere in the distance
joy, light, life

If a chance encounter can change your life
I’ll keep waiting for someone I’ve never seen
because the waters that flow through my body
will not lie to me

If all that we can see
were to disappear completely
their echoes would remain in our hearts
Please tell me
your honest feelings

Right now if you’re sad, let your tears flow
Right now if you’re happy, laugh out loud

独りで歩く道程が
寂しいものだと感じたとき
ぬくもりをもつ生きものたちは
互いに手をとりはじめる

望みが人を性なら
行く手には荒波が来ようとも
眼差しを遠くまでもつことが
喜び 光 生きること

出逢いが人を変えるのなら
まだ見ぬあなたを待ちましょう
身体を流れる水たちは
自分に嘘をつけないから

目に見えるものはいずれ
消え失せても
心に響くものは残っていく
わけてください
あなたの気持ちを

今悲しいのなら ここで涙を流し
今嬉しいのなら 笑ってしまおう

Haiku by Ikeda Sumiko (池田澄子)

my favorite thing in life
when the start of winter
feels like spring

生きるの大好き冬のはじめが春に似て

snake berry
I always forget to look
at the leaves

蛇苺いつも葉っぱを見忘れる

the coming of spring
has come again
crocodile jaw

また春が来たことは来た鰐の顎

no less significant
than I am
rainy season mushrooms

わたくしに劣るものなく梅雨きのこ

everyone
stones on the ice
of the lake

ひとびとよ池の氷の上に石

hiding the sun
sunlightsunsunflower

日輪を隠す日光日日草

spring wind
words become sound
and disappear

春風や言葉が声になり消ゆる

Haiku by Ikeda Sumiko (池田澄子)

little Taku’s
first calligraphy this year
a giant oval

拓チャンの書初め大いなる楕円

fig trees
gods or buddha
never saw them

無花果や神も仏も見たことなし

moonlit pillar
if you want to bloom
be my guest

月の夜の柱よ咲きたいならどうぞ

under cherry blossoms
I do not wait to see
if they fall

桜の下散るか散るまで待てません

she is prettier
than I am
the tubifex worm

私より彼女が綺麗糸みみず

All poems originally appeared in Japanese at the Gendai Haiku Association Database (http://www.haiku-data.jp/).