Blue Room by Yoshiyuki Rie (青い部屋 / 吉行理恵)

I am in a blue room
The sound pelting the shutters is not the rain
but the wailing of a mad old woman
 (Give me back my son, give me back my son)
The sound beats against my walls
so I close the shutters and
I am in a blue room

I wonder if her son will ever return
The woman I’ve hidden from sight is not me
I say that because there is only space for one in the blue room
Here everywhere is blue
and there are no coffins or cremators to be seen

Her son loved the color blue
He loved to stare up at the blue moon

I don’t know when her son
and the blue moon fell deeply in love
But on a parched night
overeager, her son took a bite out of his blue moon
and it never rose again

I became aware of
the dandelions blooming, and the wind . . . . . .
So I opened the shutters, only a little
But the crazy old woman was standing outside
She was standing there just to stare at me

I am in a blue room
Long ago, it was white fingers hitting the piano
that pelted my shutters
 (Give me back my son, give me back my son)

わたしは青い部屋の中です
雨戸に叩きつけるのは雨の音でなく
気の狂(ふ)れたばあさんのわめき
 (むすこをかえせ むすこをかえせ)
わたしの壁にぶつかるから
かたく雨戸をしめて
わたしは青い部屋の中です

息子は帰って来ないのでしょうか
かくした女(ひと)は わたしではないのです
何故なら青い部屋はひとりしかはいれないから
ここはどこまでも青く
柩(ひつぎ)もなければ 隠亡もみあたらないのです

むすこは青い色を好きでした
青い月をみつめているのが好きでした

いつのまにか青い月とむすこは
あいしあってしまったのです
けれども喉(のど)がからからな夜
たまらなくてむすこは青い月をかじったのでした
だからむすこの青い月はもうのぼりません

しらせてよこしたのは
タンポポが咲いたこと そして風が・・・・・・
だからほんのすこし 雨戸をあけたのです
外には気の狂れたばあさんが立っていたのです
わたしをみつめるために 立っていたのです

わたしは青い部屋の中です
昔 白い指でピアノをたたいたその人は
わたしの雨戸を叩きます
 (むすこをかえせ むすこをかえせ)

NOTES:

Original poem found here.

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Fear by Yoshiyuki Rie (怖れ / 吉行理恵)

I
found a sakura shell

When the waves approach
like footsteps
they will wash it away

I
found a sakura shell
on the shore

The stars
aren’t coming out tonight

Soon the rain clouds will give out a shout

私は
桜貝をみつけたのです

足音のように
波が寄せてきたら
この桜貝を さらっていくでしょう

渚で
私は
桜貝をみつけたのです

星は
空に出ていないのですから

やがて雨雲が 叫びをあげます

NOTES:

Yoshiyuki Rie (1939-2006) was a Japanese poet and novelist. She was born in Tokyo and graduated from Waseda University. Her works include 「青い部屋」 (The Blue Room, 1963), 「夢の中で」 (In Dreams, 1968), and 「黄色い猫」 (The Yellow Cat, 1989). She died of thyroid cancer at the age of 66.

Her father was the dadaist poet and novelist Yoshiyuki Eisuke (1906-1940), her sister is the actress Yoshiyuki Kazuko (1935-), who has been in movies such as Zoo, Departures, and Ponyo, and her brother was the prolific author Yoshiyuki Junnosuke (1924-1994), who has only one novel available in English, the Tanizaki Award-winning The Dark Room (translated by John Bester), and two short story collections only recently released, Fair Dalliance (trans. Lawrence Rodgers) and Toward Dusk (trans. Andrew Clare).

Further notes:

A “sakura shell” (桜貝) is a Nitidotellina nitidula (species of tellin). It looks like this: