A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                    Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

This poem is in the public domain.

translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles

I am a boy, having never known love, 
Who has suddenly fallen from the summit  
Of frightening infancy into the darkness of a well 
Dark, watery hands choke my delicate neck 
Innumerable needles of cold push into me, 
Killing my heart, wet as a fish 
Inside, each organ swells like a flower 
As I move horizontally below the earth 
Along the surface of the water  
Eventually, from the green horn in my groin 
A sprout, unreliable and delicate, will grow 
Clawing up the heavy soil with thin hands 
One day, like a pallid face, 
Its tree will rustle under the painful light 
For I desire as much space inside me  
For light as space for shadow





ぼくは 愛も知らず
怖ろしい幼年時代の頂きから 突然
くらい水の手が ぼくのひよわなのどをしめ
つめたさの無数の雛が 押し入って来ては
ぼくの 魚のように濡れた心臓をあやめる
ぼくは すべての内臓で 花のようにふくれ
地下水の表面を 水平にうごいていく
ぼくの股の青くさいつのからは やがて
たよりない芽が生え 重苦しい土を
かぼそい手で 這いのぼっていくだろう 
ぼくは 影の部分と同じほど
ぼくの中に 光の部分がほしいのだ

Copyright © 2024 by Mutsuo Takahashi and Jeffrey Angles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 19, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.