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Songs

by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Translated from Japanese by
Ryan Choi

心境 

 

廢れし路をさまよへば

光は草に消え行けり

けものめきたる欲念に

怯ぢしは何時の夢ならむ

 

 

臘梅

 

臘梅の匀を知つてゐますか?

あの冷やかにしみ透る匀を。

わたしは――実に妙ですね、――

あの臘梅の匀さへかげば

あなたの黑子を思ひ出すのです。

STATE OF MIND

 

I recollect, treading along

discarded paths,

the lights dissolved in grass.

 

My trepidation, my desire

to appear as a beast—

when was it that I had this

dream?

 

 

FRAGRANT WINTERSWEETS

 

Do you remember the ice-

permeated scents

of fragrant wintersweets?

 

Strangely, I cannot smell

them anymore without

thinking of your beauty

marks.

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Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892–1927), born in Tokyo, Japan, was the author of more than three-hundred fifty works of fiction and nonfiction. Japan's premier literary award for emerging writers, the Akutagawa Prize, is named after him.
Translator

Ryan Choi lives in Honolulu, Hawai’i, where he was born and raised.