Sunday, July 31, 2011

Invisible Rhythms

Pond with Lily Pads
Placerville, CA

—Tamura Ryuichi

I saw little tracks in the snow.
Looking at them,
I saw for the first time
the world that is governed by small animals,
little birds and beasts in the woods.
Take a squirrel, for instance. 
Its tracks come down an old elm,
cross the trail,
and disappear into the fir woods.
There is no momentary hesitation, no anxiety, no clever question mark.
Or take a fox, for instance.
His tracks go endlessly in a straight line
down the valley road north of the village.
The hunger I know has never drawn
a straight line like his.
My heart has never had
such a resilient, blind, affirmative rhythm as in these tracks.
Or take a bird, for instance.
Its tracks are clearer than its voice,
the print of its claws sharper than its life.
Its wings are printed on the slope of snow.
The fears I've known have never drawn
such a simple pattern.
My heart has never had
such a sensual, heretical, affirmative rhythm as in these wingprints.

Suddenly the huge setting sun hangs on the summit of Mt. Asama.
Something makes forests,
pushes open the mouth of the valley,
rips apart the cold air.
I return to the hut.
I make a fire in the stove.
I am
an invisible tree,
an invisible bird,
an invisible small animal.
I think only
of the invisible rhythms. 

(trans. from the Japanese by Naoshi Koriyama and Edward Lueders)