March Eleventh A sad quake A gigantic quake Since then
my hometown station has yet to awaken. It’s been roped off, shut down, crossed out.
Your station, my station, rescue them, please. They’ve been taken from us.
No place to depart, no place to come and go, no place to return. The clock hands frozen at 2:46.
Has the station in your hometown been destroyed? Does the clock indicate precisely the time it is now? Good night. There’s no night that doesn’t find the dawn. The people heading off, the people seeing someone off, the people waiting for an arrival, the people coming home. See you soon. Welcome home. Good night. Please give my hometown our station back.
It burns, my anger. I mean, really burns.
Life is begotten and sets off for …death? ―for what reason? What wielded authority yields both birth and obliterating death? Destruction, regeneration, what brings them?
Missing people are the people whose “missing-person reports” have been filed. Then, are the missing without missing-person reports not missing?
The rumbling still feels wide and large. It’s as if I were riding on something. If a horse’s back is our earth, we are riders, sad riders.
How do you measure an earthquake? What “standard” do the numbers measure? One day I stood on a hill and gazed upon a small flag. The wind, the flag, the trembling, rumbling moment, what numbers shall we give them? The earth. Hush! An aftershock.
An aftershock. Tremors. Or, possibly, am I trembling? Trembling me among the tremors. Trembling me shaking me in the tremors. Me in the tremors shaking the trembling me that shakes me in the tremors. Trembling me shaking the me in the tremors that shakes the trembling me that shakes me in the tremors.
Do you have a beloved hometown? A town you lived in? What facial expression does it kindly cast your way now?
Do you have a beloved hometown? I do.
It’s gone now.
Are you looking at a map? I’m looking at mine. Is yours correct? My map is an old one. Because Now there are no signs of life…
Radiation rains here. A quiet night.
Why hurt us like this? What does it mean?
The meanings of all things, all events, come afterwards. But afterwards itself means what? What meaning lies within it?
What does this earthquake, this disaster want to tell us? If they have nothing to tell, what can we believe in?
Radiation rains here. The night is so quiet, so serene.
Some determine to live, and others, full of regret, dies. Countless words are scattered among the rubbles in our minds.
Me and you, why do we live in this world? Me and you, why were we born in this world? Me and you are in this world believing what?
Breezes blowing in and out, this way and that. Tears falling, falling. The earth spreading, spreading to the horizon. And I walk on, walk on to the sea.
And I believe in the sparkles of the sea, the breath in the wind, the pungent smell of grass, the twinkle in the stars, the force in the flowers, the history of stones, an intimacy with the soil, a break in the clouds―such a hometown as this, our hometown.
My watch that stopped at 2:46―I’d like to tell it the time. There is no night that doesn’t find the dawn.
(trans. Koichiro Yamauchi and Steve Redford)