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Alone, with Evening

夜だけは僕を
by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Translated from Japanese by
Ryan Choi
Issue 31 Online Exclusive

 

夜だけは僕を靜かにする。

僕は夜はダイアモンドを截り

僕のピンに嵌めようとしてゐる。

多角形に截つたダイアモンドを。

それもつまり考へて見れば、

氣違ひの息子に生まれたからだう。

 

2

 

僕自身にも欺されない僕を

誰が欺してくれるものか?

僕は薔薇を食ふ犬たちではない。

晝まも目の見える金鍍金(きんめつき)の梟(ふくろ)だ。

 

3

 

僕はアラセイトウの花のやうに

僕自身を五つの花びらにしてゐる。

1.

 

Evenings quieten me…

 

That evening—I, cleaving diamonds,

trying to

infix on my chain pin a diamond

 

whittled into a polyhedron.

 

Reason:

 

I happened to be born

the lunatic son.

 

2.

 

Pity the self that cannot self-deceive.

 

Can someone deceive it for me, please?

 

“I am not a rose-eating dog;

gilded owl with daytime vision.”

 

3.

 

Grant me five petals in place of limbs,

like a stock in bloom.

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.