Garnet by Terayama Shuji (ガーネット / 寺山修司)

If I could harden a memory
If I could somehow turn it into stone
I would want to take that day we watched the sunset
And capture it in a perfect stone
She wrote these words in a letter

In response, her lover sent to her
A garnet ring

And when they look at the small red garnet ring
The two of them
Always remember the day they were engaged

もしも 思い出をかためて
一つの石にすることが出来るならば
あの日二人で眺めた夕焼の空を
石にしてしまいたい と
女は手紙に書きました

その返事に 恋人が送ってよこしたのは
ガーネットの指輪でした

あかい小さなガーネットの指輪を 見つめていると
二人はいつでも
婚約した日のことを思い出すのです

2 thoughts on “Garnet by Terayama Shuji (ガーネット / 寺山修司)

  1. I love the translation!

    I was wondering, though, could you please tell me how you read 女 in the poem? I was going for ”onna”, of course, but in my head ”kanojo” makes more sense (seeing the translation and all). But then again, ”kanojo” would probably be 彼女.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      As you know, 女 (onna) means “woman,” so a more literal translation of the line might be, “the woman wrote in a letter.” But if I were to re-translate it today, I would probably stick with “she” because I think it sounds more fluid.

      If memories could be molded
      into a single stone
      I would want to make a stone
      of the day we watched the sunset,
      she wrote in a letter

      Her lover replied by sending her
      a garnet ring

      Whenever they look at that small, red garnet ring
      the two of them always
      remember the day they were engaged

      The poem presents two characters–a woman (女) and her lover (恋人). I would probably also translate 彼女 as “she,” although it could be translated as “the girl.”

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