Beautiful Town

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 120th birthday.

Misuzu Kaneko
1903 – 1930


Suddenly, I recall that town—
the red rooftops along the river bank;

and then, on the waters of that broad blue river
a white sail—quietly, quietly moving;

and on the grass of the riverbank
a young man, an artist
idly staring at the water.

And I? What was I doing?
When I think I can’t remember,
I realize it was all a picture in a borrowed book.

Translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi

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