[On March 11, 2011, northeastern Japan suffered a massive earthquake that left nearly 16,000 people dead or missing and many others injured. Soon afterward, the editors of Gendaishitecho (Japan's foremost magazine of contemporary poetry) and the AsahiShinbun (one of Japan's largest newspapers) collaborated to commission and publish a series of works about the disaster, all written by Japan's foremost poets. The following poem was Hiromi Itō 's contribution to the project. This translation first appeared in PoetryKanto, vol. 28 (2012). (J.A.)]
A huge earthquake, a huge tsunami People die and just moments later There’s the nuclear meltdown Drawn-out fear assaults us Each time I go to Tokyo It is darker Hot and humid there It stings In Tokyo Everyone was afraid Everybody was angry
The sequence A-Z The alphabet in order The lock The book order B-Y The interim result C
A 1. A beautiful A as it once was is—like— an apple star in—Vien’na (AS N) 2. A beautiful film star is a prayer As gladly I’s once staged (in old time VIENNA) and as beautiful; as it once waS. 3. A A A winter that is there. Winter, summer, autumn and rain P l e a s e God—bounty me the apple gain. A A A spring that is THERE.
B B B B to separate does hurt. always tributary in the crossroads, the wood falls in whining odes, B B B to separate does hurt. B B B to separate does hurt. Wood disheartened in the holloway, the wood lies at the crossroads, B B B to separate does hurt.