River

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.

12-15 Tanikawa
Shuntaro Tanikawa
Japanese
b. 1931

Mother,
Why is the river laughing?
Why, because the sun is tickling the river

Mother,
Why is the river singing?
Because the skylark praised the river’s voice

Mother,
Why is the river cold?
It remembers being once loved by the snow.

Mother,
How old is the river?
It’s the same age as the forever young
springtime.

Mother,
Why does the river never rest?
Well, you see it’s because the mother sea
Is waiting for the river to come home.

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