One Poem by Shinkichi Takahashi



Objects expressed in words are not real.
Real objects cannot be expressed.

In moments of utterance, value is only ascribed.


sea bream swam throughout the ocean flooded flat,

spilling outside, en masse.


In spacetime, neither the outside nor the inside holds.


           (GATES OF DEATH, opening soundlessly):

With severed gills and heads, the sea bream—lives spent
            in a lacquered wooden bowl, waiting
on the sullied hands of men—in example
of The Resurrection of Christ, wake from death.

          (AND, SUDDENLY): 

songs of triumphant-sea sound over land,

tides swell to ceilings, soup bowls clatter

a long a float in equitable harmony.


THE SEA BREAM—are swimming,
wagging their tails and fins.

Translated from the Japanese by Ryan C.K. Choi.

Shinkichi Takahashi (1901-1987) was a Japanese poet. 

Ryan C.K. Choi lives in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, where he was born and raised. 

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