Magic Lantern by Miyoshi Toyoichiro (幻灯 / 三好豊一郎)

I sit up in bed
Abruptly, a large shadow stretches out on the wall
My own shadow, familiar in the lonely night
The lamplight silently flickers
Overlaid on my left lung
Right here, through the fog of faint light
Floats a dim map of a solar eclipse
Muddy marshlands are scattered all around
And there in the mesh, little birds with vermillion beaks chirp to each other in the treetops…

I blow out the lamp and in the dark
Something beats its wings and flies away!
My left lung lets out a dry cough
Quietly, I lay back down to sleep


Miyoshi Toyoichiro (1920-1992) was a poet from Tokyo. He helped launch the legendary poetry magazine Arechi (Wasteland). Later, he won the Takami Jun Award for 「夏の淵」 (Summer’s Abyss).

The original Japanese language poem can be found at ポエムコンシェルジュとさがす詩の世界.