Battleaxe

Another one by Tanikawa from the collection 『世間知ラズ』 Seken shirazu (Ignorant), the title poem of which I translated before. It’s one of my favorite books. Hope you all enjoy this one!
~苦栗鼠

Battleaxe

I got up after nine, drank some coffee
and sat before my word-processor
At my old home there were still a few thickets of trees left
Birds chirped but I didn’t know their names
That I don’t try to remember the names of plants or animals
is probably because I gaze at the world with the eyes of a passerby

Suddenly the word “battleaxe” floated to mind
That’s how a poem starts sometimes
And yet, I’ve never used a battleaxe
I’ve never even touched one
One May on Childrens Day I saw a Kintarō doll
with one slung over it’s shoulder, yet with only that memory
I looked up the Chinese character for “battleaxe” in a dictionary

If what Wordsworth said was true
that poetry takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility
then my “battleaxe,” having nothing to do with tranquility or emotion,
is merely a noisy prop of the imagination

Poetry is like the clear layer left after all the bad has been scooped out of life
I was once told in bed by the woman I recently divorced

I flipped the light switch and the words before me vanished in an instant
If only poetry would vanish along with them!

*****

Original:

マサカリ

朝九時過ぎに起きてコーヒーを飲み
ワードプロセッサの前に座った
前の家にはまだいくらか木立が残っている
小鳥の鳴声がしているが名前を知らない
草木や生き物や星の名前を覚えようとしないのは
私が通行人の目でこの世を眺めているからか

不意にマサカリという言葉が頭に浮かんだ
ときどきそんなふうにして詩は始まる
だが私はマサカリという道具を使ったことがない
手で触ったことすらない
子どものころ五月人形の金太郎が
肩についていたのをぼんやり思い出すだけだ
それなのに私は辞書を引いて鉞という字を探し出す

ワーズワースが言ったように詩が
静寂の中で呼び起こされた情感に発するものだとすれば
私のマサカリは静寂にも情感にも関係のない
想像力の単なる騒がしい小道具

詩なんてアクを掬いとった人生の上澄みねと
離婚したばかりの女に寝床の中で言われたことがある

スイッチを切ると目の前の言葉は一瞬にして消え去った
ついでに詩も消え去ってくれぬものか

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

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