1974

 

空の碧海の蒼とが合ふところ船一つ光り入道雲がたつ(ホノルル)

Where jade sky joins azure sea

a single boat shines beneath cumuloninbi        (Honolulu)

 

 

襲雨の去来頻繁にして洋はかすみ街をまたぎて虹二つ立つ

The ocean blurs behind recurring showers

two rainbows straddle the town

 

 

山より出て街を洗ひて沖に去る驟雨は老の憂さをも洗ふ

Cleansing the town from the hills then departing off to sea

the showers wash away this old man’s melancholy

 

 

四辺みな噪音絶えて丘の家窓外の葉摺さやさやと聞こゆ

All noise surrounding my house dies away

leaves whisper from the window

 

 

広葉うつ雨に目覚める故国なる芦屋の雨を思出に聞く

Awakened by rain pattering the broad leaves

I listen in remembrance to the Ashiya rain from my native country   

 

(Ashiya is a city in Hyogo prefecture, Japan.)

 

 

重畳と山に囲こまれ出口さへなきかとも見ゆ故郷八幡

Enclosed by mountains rising one over another

as though with no way out - my native Hachiman

 

(Hachiman, in Gifu prefecture, was the city closest to the village called Nishikawa-mura, where Konoshima was born.)

 

 

 

姪が呉れし鮎のうるかをなつかしみ十有余年の禁酒をやぶる

With sweetfish uruka from my niece comes nostalgia

I break a ten-year abstinence

 

(Uruka is a preparation of the internal organs of ayu, or sweetfish, preserved in salt.)

 

 

病院の窓より見ゆる椰子の巨葉豪雨を浴びてフラダンス踊る

Outside the hospital window gigantic palm leaves

do a hula dance beneath a downpour

 

 

誰人か時めく人の病むならん麗花珍葉病室をかこむ

Someone famous must be ill

beautiful flowers and exotic plants surround a sickroom

 

 

津波さながらどつと押寄せ日本客市場の雑貨残らずさらふ

A tidal wave of Japanese tourists surges in

and everything in the marketplace is swept away

 

 

観光に来て日本人買ふは塵紙観光動物の新語生れん

Japanese come to sightsee - and they buy toilet paper

a new expression - “The Sightseeing Animal” - is born

 

(Both Hawaii and Japan suffered a shortage of toilet paper due to panic buying and hoarding related to the 1973~74 oil crisis.)

 

 

ウイリアムベンの侍医の名を採りウエーンウッドと名付してふ丘に鉄札は古り

Wynnewood - after William Penn’s physician

on the hill thus named an iron sign is old

 

(Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, is a suburban community outside of Philadelphia named after William Penn’s physician, Dr. Thomas Wynne. Konoshima lived in Wynnewood with his youngest daughter’s family, wintering in Hawaii, from 1972.)

ウイリアムベンも仰ぎ眺めし大樹ならんヒ府の郊外に株朽ちて残る

Perhaps William Penn raised his head to gaze at this huge tree

in a Philadelphia suburb the decaying trunk remains

 

 

春を芽吹く緑の森を鏤彩めてドックウッドと藤つつじ咲く

Adorning the forest where spring buds green

dogwood - wisteria - and azalea bloom

 

 

五千哩はるばる訪ひ来し娘をねぎらひ菜園の稔あれこれと選ぶ

My daughter travels five thousand miles to visit

I reward her with choices from my ripe vegetable garden

 

 

夕されば鹿も狐もたぬきまで庭を彷徨し示威運動をなす

As evening wears on deer and fox and raccoon

roam about my garden - holding a demonstration

 

 

野蕨も移植せんかな庭のコーナー故山を偲ぶよすがともならん

Maybe I’ll plant wild bracken in the corner of my garden

to remind me of my native home

 

 

釣れでよし釣れてなほよし息子と並びシェルター島の玉砂利に坐る

No fish is fine - a catch even better

I sit by my son on the pebbles of Shelter Island

 

(Shelter Island, New York.)

 

 

裨益せず損傷もせで世を生くる子等の凡庸ありがたくぞ思ふ

They live in the world without profit or harm

how grateful I am that my children are ordinary

 

 

 

親に勝り子等夫々の世にたてり感謝の祈り惜しみなく捧ぐ

My children all surpass their parents and rise up in the world

I offer prayers of gratitude with all my heart

 

 

新パンツの臀に継あて裾を破り若人の流行われは解しかね

Patches on the rear of new pants with torn cuffs

young people’s fashion is beyond me

 

 

襤褸弊衣を殊更衒ひ若人は偏れる世相に抗せんとするか

Young men flaunt shabby worn-out clothes

Are you rebelling against society?

 

 

弊衣乱髪汗の悪臭をまき散らし我等もあらがひき明治の世相

Shabby clothes - unkempt hair - stinking of sweat

we too rebelled in Meiji society

 

(The Meiji era - 1868 to 1912.)

 

 

暴利をむさぼる企業と政治の結託と石油危機を評ふ人のあり

Profiteering - a conspiracy between government and corporations

some say this is the oil crisis

 

 

野獣野鳥の住家をなせし大自然人間が侵害して別野を造る

Mother Nature - the home of wild birds and beasts

violated by man to create a different wilderness

 

 

道義頽れ金権のみが衍りて正副大統領スキャンダルに挫す

Morality crumbles - financial power alone abounds

the President and Vice President are cut down in scandal

 

 

 

大統領の汚職をあばき辞任させ民主アメリカの勝利を謳ふ

The President’s corruption is exposed and he is forced to resign

praise for the triumph of democratic America

 

 

民主アメリカを謳ふも可なり借問す汚職大統領は誰が選びたる

While extolling democratic America it is fair to ask -

Who elected a corrupt President?

 

 

道義なき政治を世界に指示すべく絶好の標本ウオターゲイトは

To teach the world about government without morality

a perfect example - Watergate

 

 

一時間を越えぬやうにと老妻言ひき侘しくあゆむ秋晴の野路

“Be no more than one hour” - my aged wife tells me

forlorn I walk a country path the fine autumn day

 

 

秋晴の野路たどれば何処でか銃声きこゆ猟期開くらし

I follow a country path the fine autumn day

gun shots - hunting season must have begun

 

 

秋晴の森さやさやと風渡り白樺の黄葉わが肩に落つ

A breeze rustles through woods the fine autumn day

yellow birch leaves fall onto my shoulders

 

 

三行で中絶したる故友の手紙訃報となりて天翔りきぬ

My old friend’s letter cuts off after three lines

and becomes a death notice by airmail

 

 

死を予知し最後の別辞書かんとせし友情思ひ押戴きて読む

Knowing he would die he tried to say farewell

I read in friendship and raise my head in reverence

 

 

形見分けを友は意識して居しか去年の別れに呉れたる宝石

Was my friend consciously giving us mementos?

Upon parting last year he gave me a gem

 

 

死期を識り自が戒名を書き遺し生残りの畏友また一人逝く

Aware the end was near he designated his own death-name

another remaining friend passes away

 

(A kaimyou is a name given posthumously to a deceased person in Japanese Buddhist culture.)

 

 

灯を消せば瞼に甦る友の顔夢につらなり若き日を語る

I put out the light and my friend’s visage comes back to me

turns into dreams and speaks of our youth

 

 

僅か二千弗日本円に替へ持てば金持になった錯覚をおぼゆ(帰日して)

Just two thousand dollars changed into yen

gives me the illusion of having become a rich man    (A visit to Japan)

 

 

ひたぶるに歌道に精進む日常故に師は贏ちましぬ九十歳の長寿

Because she earnestly devotes every day to poetry

my teacher lives to the ripe old age of ninety

 

(Mitsuko Shiga, 1885~1976, was married to the poet Mizuho Ota and collaborated with his literary magazine, Cho-on, the quarterly that published Konoshima’s entire opus from 1950 to 1984. Shiga was also a selector of the verses submitted for the New Year's Poetry Reading at the Imperial Palace. Anthologies of her poetry include Fuji no Mi - "Wisteria Beans", Asa Tsuki -"Morning Moon", Asa Ginu -"Linen Silk", and Kamakura Zakki -"Kamakura Miscellany". Shiga also published some instructional guides to the writing of poetry, including Waka dokuhon -"A Guide to Waka Verse", and Dento to Gendai Waka -"Tradition and Modern Waka".)

 

 

鮮紅の小柿たわわになり下る渓谷を辿り新宮に詣づ

Scarlet little persimmons densely dangle

as I walk the valley to visit a new shrine

 

 

焔ともゆる紅葉を縫ひてゆく渓流巌白くたち水碧くよどむ

A mountain stream weaves through flaming autumnal colors

rocks jut white and the blue waters swirl

 

 

飛雪さながらちるすすきの穂車窓をうち葛の紅葉焔とゆらぐ

Scattering eulalia strikes my window like swirling snow

and the autumnal kudzu seems to tremble with flames