Friday Poem


The small alley
Glimpsed from a fast train
I wonder where it goes?
In my whole life
In this alley where I shall never enter
People who I will never brush against
A row of dwellings that I will never see
Fish cooking I will never smell
One by one
All these impossible things lined up beside each other
Then, suddenly, vividly
With a feeling of familiarity stronger than towards any other path
This single alley rises up before me
It’s accompanied by a sure sadness
That I am intimate with.
There myself turning my back standing
Going down the alley slope
Chasing the setting sun
Crossing bridge after bridge
Rapidly disappearing, growing smaller myself
Finally from the end of the alley in which I find myself
The cry of a newborn baby as if a lid has been removed
A hot July day
The day on which I was born
Sprinkled water glistens on the road
by Masayo Koike
from Ameotoko, Yamaotoko, Mame o hiku otoko
publisher: Shinchosha, Tokyo, 2001

translation: 2006, Leith Morton