Regarding the future the donkey contemplates after this century What sort of century will come then How will the donkey's ears be useful Will poetry be peacefully prosperous or Hang on to the ears of hell panting burning fiercely the fire of energy that Rides the rising air current Gods ease the discontent of those who call themselves absolute Buddha closed his eyes a little while ago I am not sleeping I am contemplating The sculptor says every time he gets drowsy And he wakes up without fail by looking at a beautiful woman And screams that Flowers bloom in this world but The donkey opens a hole in the ant hill looking Everyone plugs their ears reading their own sutras inside many layered enclosures Gradually becoming ants gradually becoming soil Begins to hear a god like voice from somewhere Saying what is called the future is Not yet loaded onto your back
From Let Those Who Appear by Kazuko Shiraishi, translated by Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura. Translation copyright © 2002 by Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura. Reprinted by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.