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Poem

Rin Ishigaki

PLUCKING FLOWERS

I plucked wildflowers at Marunouchi in Tokyo.
At the end of the 1920’s
I was in my mid-teens.

On my way to work
To the Bank
The hem of my kimono-trousers flapping
Just a dash up the embankment beside the footpath
Before my eyes an open field.
Clover
Dandelions
Philadelphia fleabane
Wildflowers too poor
To decorate my desk at work.

Its been about half a century since then
Days came when the buildings blazed in the flames of war,
Around the postwar Tokyo Station
Just like a graph of the economic boom
Tall skyscrapers bloomed.

I retired at the mandatory retirement age,
I don’t suppose any firms are left which take
Girls straight from primary school.
Even women are questioned about their market value
And ranked accordingly.
Women bloom in competition
But the day has finally come when they cannot possibly be wildflowers.

Farewell Marunouchi
Now no open fields anywhere
The thin green stem that I once squeezed
Was my own neck.

PLUCKING FLOWERS

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PLUCKING FLOWERS

I plucked wildflowers at Marunouchi in Tokyo.
At the end of the 1920’s
I was in my mid-teens.

On my way to work
To the Bank
The hem of my kimono-trousers flapping
Just a dash up the embankment beside the footpath
Before my eyes an open field.
Clover
Dandelions
Philadelphia fleabane
Wildflowers too poor
To decorate my desk at work.

Its been about half a century since then
Days came when the buildings blazed in the flames of war,
Around the postwar Tokyo Station
Just like a graph of the economic boom
Tall skyscrapers bloomed.

I retired at the mandatory retirement age,
I don’t suppose any firms are left which take
Girls straight from primary school.
Even women are questioned about their market value
And ranked accordingly.
Women bloom in competition
But the day has finally come when they cannot possibly be wildflowers.

Farewell Marunouchi
Now no open fields anywhere
The thin green stem that I once squeezed
Was my own neck.

PLUCKING FLOWERS

I plucked wildflowers at Marunouchi in Tokyo.
At the end of the 1920’s
I was in my mid-teens.

On my way to work
To the Bank
The hem of my kimono-trousers flapping
Just a dash up the embankment beside the footpath
Before my eyes an open field.
Clover
Dandelions
Philadelphia fleabane
Wildflowers too poor
To decorate my desk at work.

Its been about half a century since then
Days came when the buildings blazed in the flames of war,
Around the postwar Tokyo Station
Just like a graph of the economic boom
Tall skyscrapers bloomed.

I retired at the mandatory retirement age,
I don’t suppose any firms are left which take
Girls straight from primary school.
Even women are questioned about their market value
And ranked accordingly.
Women bloom in competition
But the day has finally come when they cannot possibly be wildflowers.

Farewell Marunouchi
Now no open fields anywhere
The thin green stem that I once squeezed
Was my own neck.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère