Poetry / June 2017 (Issue 36: Writing Japan)

Island and Earth

by Naha Kanie, translated into English by Hiromitsu Koiso and Eluned Gramich


To a past
where there was still only night,
to fog from mist,
a hundred years flowed by,
we returned home
after a death the photo was cut off.
We buried it,
bringing a little
to the sleeping mountain,
leaning in close
to the water
speaking softly
only of those things that were broken or discarded.
(Why has   the light   been given to us,
only to   now   be stolen
once more?)


I can hear the sound of waves
after the radio wave
(the sound of the moon),
a vacuum is born,
a woman sings silently on screen,
time for limits and destruction
flows on,
the enlargement of plants,
the people's return discarded,
I imagine the helpless voice
enveloped by skin,
the dog's heart searching for
its amputated tail
goes out over and over again,
while every few minutes the map
changes its appearance.

Where is the bone in the nose?
Turning left at the next corner,
throwing away the dream of becoming a pianist
finger by finger beginning with the first,
we descended the mountain
burning, a record in our hands.

When I visited A in the concentration camp
at the mountain’s base,
this is the story I heard there.
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