Two Poems by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (河本緑石)

Autumn on the Plateau

Every day the cold wind drifts through
I think of the gloomy plateau
Cold creatures stained blood red
Wander beyond the darkening hill
Autumn on the plateau
Time piles up, cold and heavy
In the shadow of a lonely dragonfly
That drifts along without knowing where it goes.

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。

Sunrise on the Mountain

The morning sun spills into the rice fields of the valley
And brightly paints the mountaintops
A glimpse of the deep mountain in the morning
In the motionless, cold morning wind
The hidden cries of insects
Autumn’s wild chrysanthemums briskly swaying
Saku, saku, saku, saku
Oh, the sound of a sickle cutting grass

山の朝影

朝日は谷間の稻田にもこぼれ出し
山山をも明るく塗りつぶしたれど
ここは朝深き山の片影
あるかなき冷き朝風に
聲をひそめて鳴く虫
秋の野菊のすがすがしい搖れやう
さく/\さく/\
ああ草刈る鎌の音さへ。

NOTES:

さく/\さく/\, or sakusakusakusaku, could be a play on words. It is clearly the sound of the sickle cutting the grass, but saku (咲く) can also mean bloom. I think it is interesting that the line before mentions wild flowers and that the line after mentions cutting grass. Inbetween swaying flowers and cutting grass, we have this somewhat vague sakusaku, which could mean growing or cutting. This is only speculation on my part, but I think it adds a little bit more to the poem.

For more information about the author, please see the previous post.

4 thoughts on “Two Poems by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (河本緑石)

  1. Beautifully written and illustrated. Poems of the senses. I particularly loved, ‘In the shadow of a lonely dragonfly/ Flowing without knowing where it’s going, and, ‘Oh, the sound of a sickle cutting grass.’

    • I almost changed the last line of “Autumn on the Plateau,” actually, because of the accidental triple-rhyme. But ultimately, I decided that the musicality worked with the imagery. Thanks for commenting.

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