Sunday Poem

The Boys of Summer


On earth where many bare feet have run
We boys stretch out
We exchange embraces with no one
But we are more complete than any future


We boys hang down
Upon swings at the height of day
Our slight yawns
Like a ripening akebia fruit


Long ago, we boys left a fountain
And now go in all directions through the square
The sun which has lost its eyelids watches
The same radiant dream over and over again


With the soles of our feet, we kick up waves
And we leave along the muddy shore
Our arms reach further and further ahead
Perhaps toward the deep blue of the ancient sea


Turning the earth with our father’s bones, we spread young seeds
And cultivate summer upon cetacean memories
Each era gets its own forest
Each era gets its own graveyard


As if creating cairns, we stack
The corpses of cicadas caught during vacation
And with our butterfly nets over our shoulders
We depart for another, even taller summer

by Chimako Tada
from Hasukuibito (Lotophagi)
publisher: Shoshi Ringoya, Tokyo, 1980

translation: Jeffrey Angles
from Forest of Eyes: Selected Poetry of Tada Chimako
publisher: University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2010