Ignorant by Shuntaro Tanikawa

Here’s another by Shuntaro Tanikawa. I used minimal punctuation this time, to reflect the original. But overall I really feel like I’ve done a bad job with this one, which is sad because I really love this poem. Perhaps I’ll give it another go down the line, but for now this will have to do.

~苦栗鼠

Ignorant

By Shuntaro Tanikawa

My toes seem terribly far away
The five digits, like five complete strangers,
sit close together, coldly indifferent

There is a phone by the bed, and it’s connected to the world
but there is no one with whom I wish to speak
Ever since I can remember my life has been nothing but one errand after another
yet neither mother nor father taught me how to make small-talk in this world

Forty years spent writing, relying only on line breaks
When asked “who the hell are you?” it feels the most reassuring to say I am a poet–
How strange that is, too

When I abandoned my girl, was I a poet
Eating my favorite baked sweet potato, am I a poet
Is this man with thinning hair a poet
There are hoards of such middle-aged men, though they are not poets

Chasing pretty butterfly words, I am nothing
but a child ignorant of the world
The spirit at three
remains so naive, not even noticing how it has hurt others,
and heads toward one hundred

Poetry
is absurd

***

Original:

世間知ラズ

谷川俊太郎

自分のつまさきがいやに遠くに見える
五本の指が五人の見ず知らずの他人のように
よそよそしく寄り添っている

ベッドの横には電話があってそれは世間とつながっているが
話したい相手はいない
我が人生は物心ついてからなんだかいつも用事ばかり
世間話のしかたを父親も母親も教えてくれなかった

行分けだけを頼りに書き続けて四十年
おまえはいったい誰なんだと問われたら詩人と答えるのがいちばん安心
というのも妙なものだ

女を捨てたとき私は詩人だったのか
好きな焼き芋を食ってる私は詩人なのか
頭が薄くなった私も詩人だろうか
そんな中年男は詩人でなくともゴマンといる

私はただかっこいい言葉の蝶々を追っかけただけの
世間知らずの子ども
その三っ児の魂は
人を傷つけたことにも気づかぬほど無邪気なまま
百へとむかう

詩は
滑稽だ

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Japanese Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ignorant by Shuntaro Tanikawa

  1. Pingback: Battleaxe | Lost/Found in Translation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s