Sleeping, Sinning, Falling By Mutsuo Takahashi


free read Sleeping, Sinning, Falling

Sleeping Sinning Falling is a generous volume of selected and new poems, written over the last twenty-five years by one of the major voices in twentieth century Japanese poetry.

The translations are by Hiroaki Sato, who has published over twelve books in English translation. One of them, From the Country of Eight Islands, an anthology of Japanese poetry which he translated and edited with Burton Watson, won the American P.E.N. translation prize for 1982.

Mellifluous voice alone does not, of course, make a poet compelling. I soon found that Takahashi has, among other things, a high sense of drama – the sense that a poem is not something intended for the poet's satisfaction of his inner self alone but for other's partaking as well. —Hiroaki Sato, translator

Mutsuo Takahashi, born in 1937, is a Japanese poet, essayist, and writer. He is most well-known for writing about male homoeroticism. His work has won him several literary awards such as Rekitei Prize, Yomiuri Literary Prize, Takami Jun Prize, Modern Poetry Hanatsubaki Prize, and the Kunsho award.

Hiroaki Sato, born in 1942, is a Japanese poet and translator who frequently wrote for The Japan Times.

Sleeping, Sinning, Falling

Ah, my new favorite poet! If only, if only...

The Day of Fire

Because it was the day of fire,
at every houes, furniture and things that became unnecessary,
chairs, tables, cabinets, and beds were brought out
and burnt spiritedly in front of the door or near the gate.
All over the field called the field of vision, far and near,
innumerable columns of fire rose and rose,
pointing straight at heaven.

That day, i put together in one volume the poems
I had written for a long time for the one i loved,
knelt on the floor, and offered it to him in a reverential posture.
my loved one slapped it down on the floor the moment he received it.
Upon hitting the floor, the verses spouted fire and burnt up.
the face of my loved one, looking at me, burnt white with derision.
My face and my heart burnt black with shame.

That day, all the rivers were burning.
the domestic animals that went down to the river and drank,
the cows and the sheep,
burnt with fiercer thirst.
Gathering the burning rivers, the sea was burning in the distance.
In the burning sea were burning fish
and in the burning boats, burning fishermen,
who cast burning nets woven of burning yarn.

that day, I left the one i loved
and secluded myself in my room, facing my desk, the paper on my desk.
My fingers once again took up the pen for writing verses,
but what dripped from its tip was not ink
but the fire of fierce anger, its burning drips.
The drips of the fire of anger burnt the paper
in the shapes of the characters i wrote, no, in the shape of my anger.

I threw away the burning pen and, the burning door behind me,
began to walk as a traveler burning up, beginning with my hair.
On the membrane called the retina stands upside down a gentle shower.
Rather, toward a single uncertain, cool drop of water
the trees, stones, dust, and all were burning,
because the day was the day of fire all over the earth,
because it was a small day of fire preparing for great day of fire.
Mutsuo Takahashi Mutsuo Takahashi is one of my favourite Japanese authors. Mutsuo Takahashi