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  • Five Poems
  • Tamura Ryuichi (bio)
    Translated by Samuel Grolmes (bio) and Yumiko Tsumura (bio)

New Year Letter (1)

If youcan imagine evil you are the owner of a good heartevil does not have the power to imagine evilevil is nothing but a huge "number"

Listen to the midnight bell at Komyoji Temple in Zaimokuzaand then go out to the shore it's a wonderful ebb tideLook out to sea, keep on walking andyou should earnestly write a letter for the sake of a small number of     people

New Year Letter (2)

Are you well?Since I get a "New Year's Letter" from you every yearthis time I will write oneYour "New Year's Letter" was a mimeographed sectionof W.H. Auden's long poemIt's always a pleasure Speaking of AudenI love the poem called "September 1, 1939"the epilogue goes like this                "Defenseless under the night                Our world in stupor lies;                Yet, dotted everywhere,                Ironic points of light                Flash out wherever the Just                Exchange their messages:                May I, composed like them                Of Eros and of dust,                Beleaguered by the same                Negation and despair,                Show an affirming flame." [End Page 132] On the night Nazi Germany invaded PolandAuden secretly wrote the letterin a cheap bar on 52nd Street in New Yorkwhile he was drinking martinisBy the time it came to our handsour country had been turned completely to dustand had been occupied by the message of the politically "Just"The "Just" of Europe in the '30s were in deep silenceBut our country's modern day is a historyof the change of countless "messages"    It appears with a different      faceWe have plenty of the self-righteously "Just"Because we cannot see the ironic points of light they are scatteringwe cannot grasp the real meaning of the "message"As for New Year's Eve, after listening to the bell at Komyoji Temple in      ZaimokuzaI intend to go out to the dark seashore I'm sure there will be a     wonderful ebb tideLook out to sea, keep on walking andMaybeMaybe "an affirming flame" will be visibleto the points of light of my pupilsSee you

Sea Wind


Up until World War Iit was a fact that human flesh was sad

After that it became a machine that produced the noiseIt became a substance that raised a hollow scream

All kinds of images have been destroyedFrom the place where images were destroyed

The fact that the Imagist movement startedwas quite ironical    Things that cannot be seen

do not exist    Things that cannot be hearddo not exist [End Page 133]


This summerit happens that I will turn to the ocean with a map and book spread      out in front of meand trace the fate of the First Army Division that was destroyed at      Leyte Island

Leyte Islandis an island that does not exist for me anywhere but on the mapWhat kind of sea breezeWhat kind of sunsetWhat kind of blood, sweat and tears?

That an experience of "quality" cannot be expressed but by      "quantity" is truly refreshingThe author of the Diary of the Battle of Leyte definitively states in the      epilogue that"the testimony of the dead is multi-dimensional"If so the testimony of the living is one-dimensional

FineThe sea wind only blows through my one dimension


The typhoonleft toward the north with my animal nature

This morning a poetry magazine arrivedfrom New York

On the cover it says, Fall Issueand has poems by Americans on the theme of human misery

It's filled with poems of loud laughtermore appropriate for the fall than for autumn

Don't ripen    Fall foreverYou should appreciate the flavor of falling    AndFall from a pear tree in my gardenthirty pieces of fruit and two hundred leaves    And

Fall    from my hands the dead languagea fourteen-line poem [End Page 134]

I'Ve Stopped Having Dreams

I've stopped having dreamsMaybe I do dream butdon...


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pp. 132-136
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