Sacred Tree                                                                               Arai Takako



Ages and ages ago,

When a woodsman tried to cut down a magnificent cedar,

But broke his arm,

Yet kept trying to cut it down

Until he threw his back out,

Yet kept trying to cut it down,

Until the blood

Began to flow from the trunk


My eyes deceive me, he thought,

You and I have both been deceived,

Or so the woodcutter believed,

And kept on cutting

Until that trunk

Was soaked in blood,


My mind’s playing tricks on me, he thought,

My mind’s playing tricks on me, he believed,


You and 


Stood there,

Soaked in blood



             ––––Translation by Jordan A.Y. Smith

Tokyo Poetry Journal

Tokyo Poetry Journal
c/o Jeffrey Johnson
English Department, Daito Bunka University
Iwadono 560 Higashimatsuyama-shi
Saitama-ken 355-8501 Japan

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Copyright Tokyo Poetry Journal 2020. All artwork and poetry copyrights remain with authors and artists.