[excerpt] Silent Salute of Poetry [excerpt]
Translated by Koichiro Yamauchi and Steve Redford
March 11th. Shinchi Station. Its bare face was attacked by a tsunami.
Shinchi Station. Like other stations, it has carried lives, connected hearts, spun the time.
April 24th. The view toward Soma City is perfectly clear. Have we seen such a blue sky since the quake? Since then, no.
Blue sky, have you forgotten all about the quake?
What lies deep in the blue sky? The bottom of the warm ocean? The Blue brothers. The sky and ocean.
What grave face did the station put on to greet our lives? What gentle look did it give us when it guaranteed our departures and returns? What solemn expression did it have when it saw off the beginning and met the ending of each day? The station’s name was Shinchi Station.
Running like the wind across the springtime countryside and mountain fields. Because the plants, the flowers are sprouting, budding, the thin tips of twigs are inviting the season. Feeling the breathing of storm, light, and clouds. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is resounding. I’m a speeding conductor.
What’s a silent salute? What’s a silent salute of poetry? Whizzing over the mountain fields, over the countryside, across the bottom of the blue sky, my mind turns furiously. What’s the meaning of a silent salute? What does it mean for poetry to salute silently? The storm, the light and the clouds. A break in the clouds. A deer’s cry.
What does the bridge try to connect from this shore to that shore? What does the bridge try to convey from this shore to that shore? What does the bridge try to bring from that shore to this shore? Crossing a bridge, crossing a bridge…
Chasing the light. Chasing the wolf-shaped light. Chasing the wind-shaped light. Chasing the road-shaped light. Chasing the light shaped like you. The light shaped like the heart is dazzling. Chasing the light shaped like paddies and fields. Chasing the world-shaped light. Embracing (in my arms) the prayer-shaped light. The spring blue sky.
Nobody’s here, an attendant-less platform. A nobody’s-here, attendant-less platform. Shinchi Station, a nobody’s-here, attendant-less platform.
The railroad track, ignoring the real rail, is bent. Where does it lead? Where does it return? The bent track is seeking an entirely different destination.
On an attendant-less platform, the silhouette of no man. Everyone stares at a destination. Going to Sendai? Iwaki? Everyone stares at a destination. All destinations are entirely different.
The track is winding around the station. Around the station, the track is winding. It’s the first time I’ve seen the track winding around the station. A first-time spectacle. A white dragon.
A god, embodied in a train, passed by? A devil, embodied in a train, passed by? The present, feverish moment passed by? The destination of a lost track, the destination of a lost train, the destination of a lost wind. The wind blows fiercely.
The platform I never got off at. Standing there now, I realized one thing. Stepping down, the wind in my face, the sound of the waves in my ears, I realized…
A tsunami has come.
A Blue Note record was on the platform at Shinchi Station. How many times was this Jazz record played, spun? How many times did you spin it, play it?
A tilting utility pole is saluting silently.
Did the station quit as a station? The station did quit as a station. The station, too, repents. The station, too, is full of regret. The station, too, has lost itself.
An electric fan has fallen over. The wind is gone. A silent salute.