Poems by Tsuru Akira (鶴彬), 1937

地熱燃え怒り地球は春にめざめたり

Geothermal heat
Burning in rage
The earth waking up in spring

春の太陽へ廻る地球の奴隷達

Revolving toward
the spring sun —
The slaves of the earth

解放の前夜-その闘ひに死ぬ奴隷達

They were set free last night —
The slaves killed in combat

免税になるまで生めば飢死が待ち

If you keep having kids
Until you’re exempt from taxes
You’ll die from starvation

種豚にされる独逸の女たち

Kept for the purpose
of breeding pigs —
The women of Germany

決潰する夜のダムの真下の鉱夫村

Collapsed in the night —
a dam directly over
a mining village

鉄粉にこびりつかれて錆びる肺

Rusted stuck
in iron powder —
my lungs

セメントでこわばった白い肺で血も吐けないのだ

Cement-hardened white lungs
Can’t even cough up blood

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Poems by Tsuru Akira (鶴彬)

ふんぷんと海にふる雪海となる

Coming in flurries
The snow that falls on the sea
Becomes the sea

神代から連綿として飢ゑてゐる

From the dawn of time
On down the line
People are hungry

蟻食ひの舌がとどかぬ地下の蟻

The anteater’s tongue
Doesn’t quite reach
The ants underground

銃口に立つ大衆の中の父

Standing at gunpoint
in a mass of people —
my father

仲間を殺す弾丸をこさへる徹夜、徹夜

We make bullets
To kill our friends
All night long,
All night long

殴られる鞭を軍馬は背負はされ

The warhorse was forced
to carry on its back
the whip that beat it

葬列めいた花嫁花婿の列へ手をあげるヒットラー

A kind of funeral procession —
Brides and grooms marching in line
Raising their hands to Hitler

暁をいだいて闇にゐる蕾

Embracing the dawn
In the darkness —
A flower bud

Haiku in Wartime

戦争へゆくかも知れぬ落葉焚く

–東京三

I may be going to war
Fallen leaves
kindle the fire

–Higashi Kyouzou (Higashi Kyôzô)

煙草も砂糖もない店のガラス壺の埃

–栗林一石路

Out of cigarettes and sugar
Dust in the store’s glass jar

–Kuribayashi Issekiro

手と足をもいだ丸太にしてかへし

–鶴彬

My hands and my feet
were disassembled and
replaced with logs

–Tsuru Akira

退却が待ち遠しい銃をかついでいる

–中山仮面坊

Waiting for the order to retreat
Rifle on my shoulder

–Nakayama Kamenbou

塹壕に一つ認識票光る

–西東三鬼

In the trench
a dog tag
catches the light

–Saitou Sanki

NOTES:

Higashi Kyouzou (or Kyôzô) was another pen name for Akimoto Fujio (秋元不死男).