Myself in the Manner of a Troubador

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 85th birthday.

Mutsuo Takahashi
Japanese
b. 1937

 

Mounting a horse with an abundant mane and in glittery armor, a hero
will have to have a face as dazzling as that orb of day.
But a base one ordered to sing of heroes,
I cannot have a face, however ordinary.

Like a photo of the hateful man an abandoned woman tore into shreds,
My face is torn apart and lost in advance.
Faceless, holding in both hands a lyre quite like a face,
on a hill with a view of the field shining with battle dust, under a plane tree,

or on a boulder of a cape overlooking the sea where triremes come and go,
I sit for thousands of years, I just continue to sit.
The odes that, faceless, I sing in praise of passing heroes
overflow as beautiful blood from the chest would I hade with the lyre.

Translation by Hiroaki Sato

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