Moon Over a Snowfield by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (雪原の月 / 河本緑石)

I was cast out into this frozen waste.
The sharp half moon
is swirling round and round.
My feet are freezing
and the farmers’ lamps have just been buried in the snow.
There is no one on this pallid field
but me and my freezing soul.

私はこんな雪原の中に投り出されてしまつた。
鋭い半月が
キリ/\渦巻いてゐる。
私の足は凍てつき
農民の灯は雪にうづもれてばかり。
人一人ゐない青白い雪原で
私は心を凍らしてばかり。

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Searching for the Last Bit of Warmth on Earth by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (最後の地熱を求めて / 河本緑石)

Searching for the last bit of warmth on earth
we dig deep into the earth’s core
In a frozen, dark cavern
long since abandoned,
an abalone shell, still living,
has been uncovered in the ruins of a blue dream
as we encroach upon our eternal hour
Oh, hurry and prepare the counter-current pump
and begin extracting the last hours and warmth on Earth.

最後の地熱を求めて
深く地心をゑぐる
氷結した暗い洞窟では
いつ捨てられたとも知れぬ
あはびの殻が生きてゐて
青い夢想の形骸をさらし
悠久な時間を蠶食してゐる
ああ早く、逆流ポンプをしかけ
最後の時間と地熱とを汲み出せ。

The Envious Toad by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (羨望のひきがへる / 河本緑石)

Dancing, dancing
On a placenta of blue flame
Like a fetus swimming in blood
Concealing its strange breath
Oh, the envious toad dances.

踊るは踊るは
青い炎の胎盤の上で
血の中を泳ぐ胎兒の如くに
あやしき息づかひをひめつつ
ああ、せんばうのひきがへるは踊る。

An Autumn Dragonfly by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (秋の蜻蛉 / 河本緑石

Oh, an autumn dragonfly
by a mountain pass
lands on the tip of a blade of withered grass
There is a sorrow in the light of the mountain pass
Flitting here and there, the dragonfly
is a lonely thing
growing old in the mountain pass
Oh, the autumn dragonfly
is lonelier than a dream
fading into far-off reality
drifting away.

ああ、秋の蜻蛉は
まして山路のほとりの
すがれたる草葉の末にとまり
或は山路のあはれなる光の中に
往き來する蜻蛉は
淋しきもの
かかる古びたる山路にて
ああ、秋の蜻蛉は
夢よりも淋しく
消えゆく現實のかなたに
流れゆく。

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.

Two Short Poems and Three Haiku by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (河本緑石)

The Valley Sky

The valley sky takes a deep breath
I drunkenly place a bunch of grapes in my mouth
My eyes collect pools of tears
One day’s journey up a mountain path
Oh, I think of my vanishing loneliness.

谷間の空

谷間の空は深く息をし
私は酸つぱき山葡萄の一房を口にし
目にいつぱい涙をためる
とある山路の旅の一日
ああ、かかる透明なる淋しさを思へ。

Firework

I will give you a firework
Though I know it’s not much
It explodes in the sky
It is my soul
A rainbow of color that quickly fades
A wondrous handball

花火

花火をあげろ
何のことはない
虚空で破裂する
俺の魂だ
七色に須臾(しゅゆ)にして消え去る
不思議の手毬だ

Haiku:

暗い空の雪風に眼がゐる

In the snowy winds
of the dark sky
there are eyes

狂つた時計ばかり背負はされてゐる

Forced to carry on my back
only broken clocks

麥がのびる風の白猫

Growing wheat
A white cat
in the wind

NOTES:

Kawamoto Ryokuseki (1897 – 1933) was the pen-name of Kawamoto Yoshiyuki (河本義行), a Japanese teacher and poet who wrote free-form haiku and free verse. In 1924, he received a copy of Spring and Chaos (「春と修羅」) from Miyazawa Kenji, the famous poet and story writer. The following year, Kawamoto published Dream Fragments (「夢の破片」). In 1932, he published a book of tanka, A Collection of Flowers and Incense (「香花集」). He died in 1933 — just two months before Miyazawa Kenji — saving a colleague from drowning during swimming practice at the coast. He was 36.

The “grapes” of the first poem are 山葡萄 (yama-budou), or Crimson Glory Vine.

A handball (手毬, temari) is a traditional Japanese toy that became a kind of art form.

Information and free verse taken from http://www.urban.ne.jp/home/festa/kawamoto.htm.

More information, photo and haiku taken from http://www.apionet.or.jp/~stfri13b/ryokuseki.htm.

Two Free-form Haiku and a Longer Poem by Kawamoto Ryokuseki (河本緑石)

死んで俺が水の中にすんでゐる夢だつた

I.

I was dead
and living underwater
in a dream

II.

I dreamt that I had died
and was living underwater

魂に眼があるきよとんとしてゐる

There are eyes in the soul
that stare in bewilderment

* * *

I Also am Worried

(From village to village and town to town young men are recruited)

Your young blood does not dance
Your young hearts are not free
On the contrary, you are trembling in fear
Until something breaks, you are kept in fear
You are growing in numbers
You are isolated and lonely
You have no one to comfort you
Your last moments of freedom were taken from you
Your will was broken down
Down to your little finger, you are unable to resist
At times, even justice is taken from you
You share the same worries
You cry in your loneliness
You groan in your anguish
Oh, you who were torn apart from your relatives and loved ones
I can’t bear to look at you

(Upon reading the prison diary of Ohsugi Sakai)

私も一緒に悩んでゐる
村々や町々から徴集せられた青年達

君等の若い血は躍らない
君等の若い心は伸び伸びとしない
それどころか君等は怖れわなないてゐる
何がかくまで君等を怖れさすのだ
君等はふるへてゐる
君等は孤独で寂しい
君等はなぐさめがない
君等の自由の最後の時間までがうばはれた
君等の意志はめちやめちやにくだかれた
君等は小指ほどの反抗も与へられない
君等は時に正義さへうばはれる
君等はなやみどうしだ
君等は寂しさに泣いてゐる
君等は苦しみにうめいてゐる
おゝ、凡ての近親者凡ての暖かきものに別れて来た君達
私は君達を見るに堪へない

    また、
 或る時は大杉堺の獄中記しみじみ読みて見たりき