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the way home

March 19, 2009

I should never have learned words
how much better off I’d be
if I lived in a world
where meanings didn’t matter,
the world with no words

If beautiful words take revenge against you
it’s none of my concern
If quiet meanings make you bleed
it also is none of my concern

The tears in your gentle eyes
the pain that drips from your silent tongue –
I’d simply gaze at them and walk away
if our world had no words

In your tears
is there meaning like the core of a fruit?
In a drop of your blood
is there a shimmering resonance of the evening glow
of this world’s sunset?

I should never have learned words
Simply because I know Japanese and bits of a foreign tongue
I stand still inside your tears
I come back alone into your blood.

Ryuichi Tamura
tr. Takako Lento
(original Japanese)
more on Tamura here and here

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 20, 2009 11:34 am

    oh, this is so beautiful, thank you. I have never seen a Japanese manuscript until now.
    “if I lived in a world
    where meanings didn’t matter” is much more intense in Japanese: not simply ‘meanings don’t matter’, but ‘imi ni naranai sekai’ which literally would mean something like ‘a world which doesn’t become meaning’ (in our earlier terms: escapes reifying).
    and now I have to remember that ‘kotoba’, ‘word’, is written with two kanjis meaning: the leaves of speach. words as uttered leaves, so beautiful…

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