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Songs II

by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Translated from Japanese by
Ryan Choi
Issue 31 Online Exclusive

おれの詩

 

おれの頭の中にはいつも薄明い水たまりがある。

水たまりは滅多に動いたことはない。

おれはいく日もいく日も薄明い水光りを眺めてゐる。

と、突然空中からまつさかさまに飛びこんで來る、目玉ばかり大きい靑蛙!

おれの詩はお前だ。

おれの詩はお前だ。

 

 

惡念

 

松葉牡丹をむしりつつ

ひと殺さむと思ひけり

光まばゆき昼なれど

女ゆゑにはすべもなやう

MY POETRY

 

Sunless lake in the center of the head.

On rare occasion there is motion.

Days elongate, I stare at the light

Figures in the sunless

 

Lake—

 

And then, unexpectedly, flying headfirst

From the sky,

The frogs with outsized eyes!

My poetry—is you.

My poetry—is you.

 

 

EVIL SPIRITS

 

To pluck a moss rose is

 

To kill a being:

 

The glow was dazzling, even

At noon, but because

Of the women

 

There was no way out.

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.