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

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Concerning Wings by Terayama Shuji (翼について / 寺山修司)

When a bird flies
it uses its wings
but when you fly
what do you use?

I think I would stand at the highest point
of a building just as the sun is setting
Could I fly with Alain’s On Happiness?
Could I fly with Mozart’s Jupiter?
Could I fly with
my love for her?

Facing the distant sunset
both arms spread out
I am forever
caught in my own despair

鳥はとぶとき
つばさでとぶが
あなたはとぶとき
何でとぶのですか?

私は暮れやすいビルの
いちばん高い場所に立って考える
アランの「幸福論」でとべるか?
モーツァルトのジュピターでとべるか?
あの人の
愛でとべますか?

はるかな夕焼に向って
両手をひろげると
私はいつでも
かなしくなってしまうのです

Whenever I Am Melancholy by Terayama Shuji (かなしくなったときは / 寺山修司)

Whenever I am melancholy I go out to watch the sea
Heading home from a used bookstore I go out to watch the sea

Whenever you are sick in bed I go out to watch the sea
On mornings my soul is wearing thin I go out to watch the sea

Oh, the sea!
Large shoulders and broad chest!

However cruel the morning, however brutal the night
It will come to an end

All life will someday end
Only the sea will remain

Whenever I am melancholy I go out to watch the sea

On the loneliest of nights I go out to watch the sea

かなしくなったときは 海を見にゆく
古本屋のかえりも 海を見にゆく

あなたが病気なら 海を見にゆく
こころ貧しい朝も 海を見にゆく

ああ 海よ
大きな肩とひろい胸よ

どんなつらい朝も どんなむごい夜も
いつかは終わる

人生はいつか終わるが
海だけは終わらないのだ

かなしくなったときは 海を見にゆく

一人ぼっちの夜も 海を見にゆく

NOTES:

Terayama Shuji (1935-1983) was a poet, playwright and film director.

Japanese poem taken from sanmarie.me.

Diamond by Terayama Shuji (ダイヤモンド / 寺山修司)

I wrote down the word tree (木)
but it looked so pitiful all alone
so I added another tree (木)
and the trees became a forest (林)
When I look at the word lonely (淋)
I know why the trees are crying (涙)
It’s just because when love begins
loneliness comes in

木という字を一つ書きました
一本じゃかわいそうだから と思って
もう一本ならべると
林という字になりました
淋しいという字を じっと見ていると
二本の木が なぜ涙ぐんでいるのか よくわかる
ほんとに愛しはじめたときにだけ
淋しさが訪れるのです

NOTES:

Terayama Shuji (1935-1983) was a poet, playwright and film director.

This poem plays on the words 木 (ki), 林 (hayashi), 淋しい (sabishii) and 涙 (namida). A 木 is a tree, and when you write two of them together, you get the word 林, which means woods or forest. Finally, 淋しい means lonely, and it looks like a 林 next to the left radical of 涙, or tears — so, in other words, it looks like a crying forest. Terayama explains this character by saying that when you bring two trees together love begins, and love is the beginning of loneliness. I decided it was necessary to include the original kanji in the translation to make the wordplay apparent.

Japanese poem and picture of the author found at sanmarie.me.