Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Takako Arai

Lots and Lots

Tsutomu and Isamu—
Those names were popular among boys back then
But we weren’t even paying attention when
One of Osamu’s creations, our number one author,
Crossed the sea and changed
His name to Astro
Hmmmm…  Think about it
  To tell the truth
It didn’t even come across as some cruel joke
When Atom
The boy hero came calling
From the islands where the atomic bombs once fell

When did we realize
What his name really meant?
Hmmmm…  Think about it
I wanted to be friends with Uran
This is no cruel joke
All of us kids were that way back then
Each one of us with an atomic reactor in our hearts
Maybe we were the ones who changed his name
Calling him
Atom

When we called him that
We cut off
The root
Of the word
For the future, for the universe
For our own peaceful uses, as a nation that had suffered through the bomb
I don’t want to blame
The young Tezuka
The adults wanting to sell dreams
The children wanting to lose themselves in dreams
Went right along too
With his inklings and the iron-arms
Like filings to a magnet
Lots of them

And lots of them
He would not have been able to draw him
If that were really his name
He could not depict him as Genko, a girl robot
That was what we needed
  Right then
A new nuance
For the future, for the universe
For our twisted peace
The name “Atom”
Split off of the atom
And the atomic bomb

  —The reason his power source
  Was swept out to sea one day
  Was because it was not included
  It had been cut off from the start
      The language on these islands
  Gets rid of roots, cuts them off with katakana
  Long before the earthquake
      If so, then

It was okay to use that name
    So that’s why
  His name, all sparkling clean
Was used
Lots
And lots
Until smeared with filth and mud

What we have are not fifty-four reactors
We have fifty-four Atoms standing there at the water’s edge
Of the four that the waves swallowed
Three blew themselves up, one’s innards failed
The jets in their legs
Rained down iodine, cesium, strontium
His little brother Cobalt chased after him
Through fields, mountains, towns
      Among people, livestock, butterflies
The furnaces in the three Atoms’ hearts
Melted down and collapsed
            Making
His little sister Uran seethe, the fission wouldn’t stop
Professor Ochanomizu and Dr. Tenma were killed
Into the sea poured
An accumulation of tears
From his kind heart
Some of the other Atoms
Also stood atop fault lines
Some grew old, their metallic exhaustion began
And then
Even though we shut them down
We still couldn’t find a place to get rid of them
This is our one and only world
Not a manga in which we can blow things up in space
      There he was
Mulling over the laws of robotics
“I was born to make people happy”
Perhaps all this hurt him more than humanity

*

At the edge of the water
Fifty-four severed heads
Four of them
Eyes lowered, noses lowered, piling upon penance day after day
One lowering countless children of science on a land of withered trees
One killing countless children of science in a sea without salt or moon
One surprised as it measures the dead Atom’s legs and the living Atom’s eyes
On its scale of tangled serpents only to find they weigh the same
One dead and still sicker than before
Coughing within its concrete sarcophagus

*

A single butterfly crosses the Becquerel Straits.

*

A face appears below the ground
The sad face of a sick man
The grass sprouts and sways
Countless hairs begin to tremble
From the sad, sick surface
The sad face of Atom appears
Tears dripping
Dripping tears
    At this moment
Thin roots
Hairy roots
Cilia from root tips
Cilia covered in faint hair

They will grow, won’t they?
We will make them grow, won’t we?
In the soil that is the language of these islands
In the deep darkness at its base

An object mired in karma
  Will he ever
    Be allowed
To rest in peace?

わんさ、わんさと

わんさ、わんさと

ツトムやイサムが
流行(はやり)だったじゃないか、あのころの男の子の
ちっとも警戒しなかったさ
オサムだもの、だいいち作者だって、
海をわたり
アストロと名を変えたって、
ふ――ん だったよ
  ほんとうは、
ブラックジョークにも ならなかったんだね
やって来たら、
アトミックボムを落とした島から、
アトムが

原子 と知ったのはいつだったか
ふ――ん だったよ
ウランとも友だちになりたかったんだ、わたし
ブラックジョークじゃ ありません
みんなそう、あのころの子は
胸のなかの原子炉ごと
言い換えてしまったのかもしれないね、
それを
アトムと

呼んだとき、
切断される、
語彙の、
根っこが、
未来で、宇宙で、
被爆国だからこその平和利用で、
責めたいのではありません
手塚青年を、
夢商いしたい大人も
夢惑いしたい子どもも
しゃぶりッ付いたんだから、
その閃きと鉄腕へ
磁石の屑みたいに、
わんさ、

わんさと
描けなかったよね
ほんとうの名だったら、
ゲンコとよませる少女ロボットでも 描けない
必要だった、
  そこには
あたらしい響きが、
未来のため宇宙のため
ねじ曲がった平和のため、
原子と
原子爆弾と、わかれたアトムよ

――あの日、
  電源が海に流れちまったのは、
  くっ付いてなかったからさ、そもそも
  根絶やしなんだよ、
       ここの 島ことばは
  源を捨てちゃうのさ、サッと、カタカナで
  地震のずっと前からさ

      だったら、

使えばいいだけだ
  だったら、
 わんさ
わんさと
垢と泥にまみれるまで、徹底的に
アトム
という いまなおビカビカを、

五四基の原発じゃありません
五四人のアトムが立っているんです、波打ち際で
ざんぶり飲まれた四人のうち、
三人は自爆、一人は内臓破裂
足のジェットが、
ヨウ素、セシウム、ストロンチウムを降らしました
追っかけました、弟のコバルトも
野にも、山にも、町場にも、
      ひとにも、牛にも、ちょうちょにも、
三人は、
心臓の炉心がとけて、落ッこちましたよ
                 妹の、
ウランを滾(たぎ)らせ、核分裂が止まりません
とっくにブッ死んださ、お茶の水博士と天馬博士は、
海へもです、
涙のつもりだったんよ
やさしい心の、
ほかのアトムも
あるものは活断層の真上に立ち、
あるものは老いて、金属疲労がはじまって、
そうして
なんとか、廃炉となっても
見つからんのだ、捨て場所が、
宇宙で爆死できるマンガとは
違いました、唯一
      そこが、
「人間を幸せにするために生まれてきた」
ロボット法を噛みしめて、
一等苦しいのは、それ自身かもしれません

  *

波打ち際に
五四人の生首
四人はただれ、
目が落ち、鼻が落ち、日々の苦行を積む
一人は、枯木の地に無数のかがくの子を垂らした
一人は、塩と月のない海に無数のかがくの子を死なした
一人は、へびの絡まる秤の上で
死せるアトムの足、生けるアトムの目の重さが等しいのに驚く
一人は、死んでいてなお病気
コンクリートの石棺で、咳をする

  *
てふてふが一匹ベクレル海峡を渡って行った。
  *

地面の底に顔があらわれ、
さみしい病人の顔があらわれ、
うらうら草の茎が萌えそめ、
かずしれぬ髪の毛がふるえ出し、
さびしい病気の地面から、
さみしいあとむの顔があらわれ、
なみだたれ、
なみだをたれ、
    いまはや、
ほそい根が、
けぶれる根が、
根の先より繊毛が、
かすかにけぶる繊毛が、

生えるでしょうか
生やせるでしょうか、
島の、ことばの地べたに
その底のくらやみに、

成仏サセレル、
     でしょう、
         か
業まみれの物体を、
Close

Lots and Lots

Tsutomu and Isamu—
Those names were popular among boys back then
But we weren’t even paying attention when
One of Osamu’s creations, our number one author,
Crossed the sea and changed
His name to Astro
Hmmmm…  Think about it
  To tell the truth
It didn’t even come across as some cruel joke
When Atom
The boy hero came calling
From the islands where the atomic bombs once fell

When did we realize
What his name really meant?
Hmmmm…  Think about it
I wanted to be friends with Uran
This is no cruel joke
All of us kids were that way back then
Each one of us with an atomic reactor in our hearts
Maybe we were the ones who changed his name
Calling him
Atom

When we called him that
We cut off
The root
Of the word
For the future, for the universe
For our own peaceful uses, as a nation that had suffered through the bomb
I don’t want to blame
The young Tezuka
The adults wanting to sell dreams
The children wanting to lose themselves in dreams
Went right along too
With his inklings and the iron-arms
Like filings to a magnet
Lots of them

And lots of them
He would not have been able to draw him
If that were really his name
He could not depict him as Genko, a girl robot
That was what we needed
  Right then
A new nuance
For the future, for the universe
For our twisted peace
The name “Atom”
Split off of the atom
And the atomic bomb

  —The reason his power source
  Was swept out to sea one day
  Was because it was not included
  It had been cut off from the start
      The language on these islands
  Gets rid of roots, cuts them off with katakana
  Long before the earthquake
      If so, then

It was okay to use that name
    So that’s why
  His name, all sparkling clean
Was used
Lots
And lots
Until smeared with filth and mud

What we have are not fifty-four reactors
We have fifty-four Atoms standing there at the water’s edge
Of the four that the waves swallowed
Three blew themselves up, one’s innards failed
The jets in their legs
Rained down iodine, cesium, strontium
His little brother Cobalt chased after him
Through fields, mountains, towns
      Among people, livestock, butterflies
The furnaces in the three Atoms’ hearts
Melted down and collapsed
            Making
His little sister Uran seethe, the fission wouldn’t stop
Professor Ochanomizu and Dr. Tenma were killed
Into the sea poured
An accumulation of tears
From his kind heart
Some of the other Atoms
Also stood atop fault lines
Some grew old, their metallic exhaustion began
And then
Even though we shut them down
We still couldn’t find a place to get rid of them
This is our one and only world
Not a manga in which we can blow things up in space
      There he was
Mulling over the laws of robotics
“I was born to make people happy”
Perhaps all this hurt him more than humanity

*

At the edge of the water
Fifty-four severed heads
Four of them
Eyes lowered, noses lowered, piling upon penance day after day
One lowering countless children of science on a land of withered trees
One killing countless children of science in a sea without salt or moon
One surprised as it measures the dead Atom’s legs and the living Atom’s eyes
On its scale of tangled serpents only to find they weigh the same
One dead and still sicker than before
Coughing within its concrete sarcophagus

*

A single butterfly crosses the Becquerel Straits.

*

A face appears below the ground
The sad face of a sick man
The grass sprouts and sways
Countless hairs begin to tremble
From the sad, sick surface
The sad face of Atom appears
Tears dripping
Dripping tears
    At this moment
Thin roots
Hairy roots
Cilia from root tips
Cilia covered in faint hair

They will grow, won’t they?
We will make them grow, won’t we?
In the soil that is the language of these islands
In the deep darkness at its base

An object mired in karma
  Will he ever
    Be allowed
To rest in peace?

Lots and Lots

Tsutomu and Isamu—
Those names were popular among boys back then
But we weren’t even paying attention when
One of Osamu’s creations, our number one author,
Crossed the sea and changed
His name to Astro
Hmmmm…  Think about it
  To tell the truth
It didn’t even come across as some cruel joke
When Atom
The boy hero came calling
From the islands where the atomic bombs once fell

When did we realize
What his name really meant?
Hmmmm…  Think about it
I wanted to be friends with Uran
This is no cruel joke
All of us kids were that way back then
Each one of us with an atomic reactor in our hearts
Maybe we were the ones who changed his name
Calling him
Atom

When we called him that
We cut off
The root
Of the word
For the future, for the universe
For our own peaceful uses, as a nation that had suffered through the bomb
I don’t want to blame
The young Tezuka
The adults wanting to sell dreams
The children wanting to lose themselves in dreams
Went right along too
With his inklings and the iron-arms
Like filings to a magnet
Lots of them

And lots of them
He would not have been able to draw him
If that were really his name
He could not depict him as Genko, a girl robot
That was what we needed
  Right then
A new nuance
For the future, for the universe
For our twisted peace
The name “Atom”
Split off of the atom
And the atomic bomb

  —The reason his power source
  Was swept out to sea one day
  Was because it was not included
  It had been cut off from the start
      The language on these islands
  Gets rid of roots, cuts them off with katakana
  Long before the earthquake
      If so, then

It was okay to use that name
    So that’s why
  His name, all sparkling clean
Was used
Lots
And lots
Until smeared with filth and mud

What we have are not fifty-four reactors
We have fifty-four Atoms standing there at the water’s edge
Of the four that the waves swallowed
Three blew themselves up, one’s innards failed
The jets in their legs
Rained down iodine, cesium, strontium
His little brother Cobalt chased after him
Through fields, mountains, towns
      Among people, livestock, butterflies
The furnaces in the three Atoms’ hearts
Melted down and collapsed
            Making
His little sister Uran seethe, the fission wouldn’t stop
Professor Ochanomizu and Dr. Tenma were killed
Into the sea poured
An accumulation of tears
From his kind heart
Some of the other Atoms
Also stood atop fault lines
Some grew old, their metallic exhaustion began
And then
Even though we shut them down
We still couldn’t find a place to get rid of them
This is our one and only world
Not a manga in which we can blow things up in space
      There he was
Mulling over the laws of robotics
“I was born to make people happy”
Perhaps all this hurt him more than humanity

*

At the edge of the water
Fifty-four severed heads
Four of them
Eyes lowered, noses lowered, piling upon penance day after day
One lowering countless children of science on a land of withered trees
One killing countless children of science in a sea without salt or moon
One surprised as it measures the dead Atom’s legs and the living Atom’s eyes
On its scale of tangled serpents only to find they weigh the same
One dead and still sicker than before
Coughing within its concrete sarcophagus

*

A single butterfly crosses the Becquerel Straits.

*

A face appears below the ground
The sad face of a sick man
The grass sprouts and sways
Countless hairs begin to tremble
From the sad, sick surface
The sad face of Atom appears
Tears dripping
Dripping tears
    At this moment
Thin roots
Hairy roots
Cilia from root tips
Cilia covered in faint hair

They will grow, won’t they?
We will make them grow, won’t we?
In the soil that is the language of these islands
In the deep darkness at its base

An object mired in karma
  Will he ever
    Be allowed
To rest in peace?
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