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Night of the Yukar                Nagae Yuki

ユーカラの夜                                                           永方佑樹 


≪tan θ + sin θ


Up in deepened sky of carbon

From the fringes of the Milky Way


Mimic zodiac figures as they come,

Star-cries for companions, blazing down:

Night of the yukar


People of this world—kanna-mosir

Dream of the next—pokna-mosir


Under the red oxide roofs,

Summer insects manufactured from thin silver

Emit quavering voices

Limbs soaked in the dark carbon night

Deep beneath eyelids,

Carving sounds of a clock wound in reverse

A torrent of sunlight


At that point  


Bay leaf aroma from a motley knoll of roses

Sagittaria’s rank luxury in pond water

Its bed a brocade of shed koi scales,

Stiff glossed in gelatin,

When it shines in wind-polished multicolor cellophane,

Harmonies from foreign deities

Spill translated rays round the enamel,

Then into the landscape

Fade in unison


Faint winkings of Sirius

From a flickering galaxy,

Moonlight warps, entangled in magnetism


Slathered buttery lethargy

The summer night begins to hum out a yukar

People of this world—kanna-mosir

Dream of the next—pokna-mosir




– Translation by Jordan A. Y. Smith


Note: A yukar is an Ainu saga. In one understanding of Ainu cosmology, kanna-mosir designates the world of above ground, while pokna-mosir designates the underworld.

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