A Bell, a Bird, and Me by Kaneko Misuzu (私と小鳥と鈴と / 金子みすゞ)

No matter how I spread my arms
I can not fly at all,
But unlike me, a flying bird
Can not run fast on ground.

Though I rock my body back and forth
It makes no pretty sounds,
Yet unlike me, a ringing bell
Does not know many songs.

A bell, a bird, and also me,
All are different, all are good.

* * *

UPDATE: Thanks to Kiyo Sakamoto for clearing up some misunderstandings. The help is much appreciated. さかもと様、どうもありがとうございました!

* * *





7 thoughts on “A Bell, a Bird, and Me by Kaneko Misuzu (私と小鳥と鈴と / 金子みすゞ)

  1. I appreciate and enjoy your translations of Japanese poems.

    In this poem, “私のやうに” should be understood as “私のやうには”; so, a somewhat literal translation would be:

    But a flying bird, not like me,
    Cannot run fast upon the ground.
    . . .
    And yet a ringing bell, not like me,
    Does not know many songs.

    Just for your information . . .

    • Thank you for your reply. At first, I read it the same way you have, because that seemed to make the most sense, but then my understanding of the 私のやうに parts threw me off, so I suppose I mistranslated it. I will make the appropriate changes. Thank you again for your help. If you see any other mistakes in other poems I have posted, please feel free to let me know. I always want to improve upon my understanding of Japanese. So you are saying that this ように is actually ようには, which means “unlike me” instead of “like me”? It’s a little confusing, but I will try to make note of this in the future. Thank you.

      • Hi. Thank you for your reply.

        Maybe I should have just said that「〜のように」is basically the same as “like” in English, and depending on which word「〜のように」 modifies, the meaning of the whole sentence changes. So,「小鳥は私のように速く走れない」can be read in two different ways; it can mean either “A flying bird, just like me, cannot run fast”(「私のように」modifying 「小鳥は速く走れない」) or “A flying bird cannot run fast like I can”(「私のように」modifying「速く」:私が走れるように速くは走れない) I hope this explanation is a little clearer.

    • Thank you once again for taking the time to comment. I see what you mean now. I was confused by what やうに was modifying. I’ll try to be more careful in the future. If I make any more massive blunders (I hope I won’t, but I probably will), please be sure to point them out if you have the time.

  2. Pingback: Sibling Rivalry: Have you ever experienced it? What emotions trigger it? What could be the consequences? How could it be prevented? | ibhmana

  3. Pingback: Kōji Nanke (南家こうじ): Anime’s Eclectic Musical Poet – on the ones

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