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Category: Audio Poems

POEM: Matsushima

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A poem about one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the years. I’m translating this one into Japanese, but it’s a difficult process for me.

Matsushima

we sat at the stern of the boat
tossing shrimp-flavored snacks
to the trailing gulls

in the picture, I am smiling

hundreds of tiny islands, each
with its own pine tree
like a flag planted by Mother Earth

“I claim this island in my own name”

Basho, tongue tied, brush quivering
could write nothing but the name
of the place and an exclamation

“ah!”

after, we made tea in a cast-iron pot
suspended from the roof beams
over the coals of the fire

in this picture, too, I am smiling

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stone #23 (my first stone in Japanese)

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/ / /

今日は他の日々のようです
お茶を飲む
詩を書く
音楽に聞く
君について考える

today is like other days
I drink tea
I write a poem
I listen to music
I think of you

/ / /

part of a river of stones

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stone #22

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/ / /

I wake up to the clarinet and trombone
go to sleep to the cornet and saxophone
in between I feel the rhythm of the drum
as I wait for what’s coming to come

/ / /

part of a river of stones

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stone #21

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coconuts in a winter bus shelter
like finding snowballs on the beach in Maui

/ / /

part of a river of stones

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stone #20

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Manhattan photo by Jason Crane (2011)

Fred Astaire is dancing
beneath the haunted building
while the make-believe Irishman
plays reels down below

/ / /

part of a river of stones

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