Telling with my eyes

by | September 15, 2020

This piece was originally written by the hugely influential Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa. Despite his many contributions to Japanese literature, his work is seldom translated into foreign languages due to his ascetic values which kept it hidden from the public eye. This piece is an attempt to introduce his work to a wider audience.

It’s no use
there’s no stopping it now
it’s spewing over, gurgling
I haven’t slept since last night
blood’s been flowing ever since
every inch of me is throbbing blue
it seems I’m soon to die

Yet still
what a wind!
Mid-spring is fast approaching;
as if from deep wells underground
such lovely winds find me across
this sky so very blue
forming waves like swirls of autumn grass
across new leaves and hairy flowers
even the burnt weaving on this mat
is glowing so very blue

Doctor, were you heading home
from some conference or another?
With your black frockcoat across your back
you treat my wounds so earnestly
no complaints could ever leave my mouth
even if I died

It’s funny
though this blood, it swells
really, I only feel at peace
I think my soul’s recently departed
but oh! How cruel not to let the body know
if only to stop this bleeding

From where you stand I know I must
be a grisly sight indeed
but all I see with my two eyes
is the beautiful sky
and translucent winds


Words by Rita May, art by Sasha LâCombe.