Mischievous God’s Birthday & Other Poems

Poetry of Kazuko Shiraishi translated by Yumiko Tsumura


Mischievous God’s Birthday

Why are they shinning      brilliantly
in      the winter light
withered leaves appear      enjoyably
having a party in high spirits
even in winter, light is      sweet
comes beside the leaves 
     together      they dance 
whoosh  whoosh
        even wind blows 
sparkle  sparkle       whizz  whizz 
light rays are      dazzling
                      to blinking  eyes
leaves laugh        trees are      happy
pat       puffy      stomachs
brilliant       winter light is     as though
a winter god       the mischievous god’s birthday


The Running of the Full Moon

the full moon     taking two stars     in a big hurry
rapidly     leaving clouds behind
was running 
I wonder why     such     a hurry
it is not chasing something
neither is it being chased

last night I saw 
while looking at the sky 
the full moon    taking two stars     running away
dark velvet with two diamond buttons
and the dazzle of a perfect round
winter moon is     special     like a polished mirror
it reflects a cold     frozen     human cheek
looking cold-hearted     or generous
is either because I am     lonesome     and longing or
I am big hearted     and in a pleasant mood

I saw the full moon     running     
taking two stars     in a big hurry
rapidly     leaving clouds behind
it is     a fleeting moment but
it has already become an eternity     inside my eyes


A Spell of Dry Weather

the Indonesian Toufiq says
because of a spell of dry weather
the rumbling of thunder on the stone mountain
resonates even to ears that can not hear 
I asked him again     as I 
can not hear     anything     what does he mean
he said     a tear becomes a stone
I did not see     the scenery
why a small amount of tear-water becomes a stone
and many pile up     to become not a stone
but a mountain of stone
Toufiq     not only able to see it     is living inside it
when there is a  s p e l l   o f   d r y   w e a t h e r   people’s
t e a r s   become hard stones
and become a mountain of stone in the twinkling of an eye 
by the way     from that country Toufiq     came here
and a little while ago     he was walking alone on a morning
   beach with waves dashing 
taking along a phantom


March or a Before Dinner Drink

there is a vast hill
and there is sky beyond the hill
but always the other side is not visible
so I cannot help thinking there will be some future

spring     is right near me     but I cannot touch
like my love expected to come

March is     the season I look forward to
if applied to drinks,  it is a before dinner drink
wandering what feast     what romance
what drama     would follow     next
the buds of the pussy willow swell
the wind is still winter but     the air begins
to have sweet fragrance


In September

moon came out
moon came out over the grass-covered plain
I want to give you
one delicious full moon
like romantic love

I want to drink a full moon
floating it in a sake cup
I drink the full moon     with delicious sake
and put that away     somewhere in my heart
pretending nothing happened

that kind of full moon
that kind of love     in September
one for you     one for me
I want to try eating it like a dumpling


October Sentimental Journey

you are the October moon
that full moon that does not have a face
when open-hearted laughter
comes over     from a twilight way
your     youth     suddenly     ages
sentimental journey
your love     opens its mouth like a crocodile
and now     is brushing its teeth
and on those white teeth
your days     small lies
becoming small truths 
both well nourished
perch in lustrous happy light

even with your large eyes
you cannot see     the melody of “Sentimental Journey”
the song that is carried from this boundless October

you will hear
that    tail of the wooden horse of pleasure
that goes round     and round like a merry-go-round
resembles well the bravery of your tail
both merry-go-round
and all
are rotating phantoms

both you     and I
do not go round
just     go passing
in a smart-looking     manner
of a cloud crossing the full moon
ah, October moon
there is a full moon that does not have a face
the existence that does not have a name
you     exist


The Crocodiles

Nick and Muriel

we are the savage crocodiles
that devour each other’s limited time
under the severe July sun
shedding blood into a river
we cannot forget     the memory of biting
each other’s life to death
like the first hatred     the first love
oh     Sun!     our godless prayer is 
to beat
our actions     with one’s tail
nevertheless     we
are the savage crocodiles
that devour each other’s limited time
under the severe July sun


Editor’s Note on the translation of Mischievous God’s Birthday & Other Poems

Mischievous God’s Birthday & Other Poems is not Yumiko Tsumura’s first work to appear in Eastlit. Her previous published pieces of her own work are:

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