Regarding the Future The Donkey

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.