Fukushima ふくしま

The following are twenty-five of fifty haiku from a collection by Nagase Tōgo that won Japan’s Kadokawa Haiku Award in 2011. See the Japanese announcement of this award in the Asahi Shimbun. Translations first published in Modern Haiku 43:2, Summer 2012, pages 71 to 76. Selected poems also appear, with a brief introduction, on the Haiku International Association website.

 

 

Nagase Tōgo                                        永瀬十悟

Fukushima                                           ふくしま

2011 Kadokawa Haiku Award          2011 年角川俳句大賞

 

      translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch

 

 

激震や水仙に飛ぶ屋根瓦

gekishin ya suisen ni tobu yanegawara

 

severe earthquake—

roof tiles flying

to the narcissus

 

打ち続くなゐのハンマー砂あらし

uchitsuzuku nai no hanmā sunaarashi

 

the endless hammering

of earthquakes—

sand storm

 

凍返る救援のヘリ加速せよ

itekaeru kyūen no heri kasoku seyo

 

freezing cold—

rescue helicopter,

hurry up, hurry up

 

無事ですと電話つながる夜の椿

buji desu to denwa tsunagaru yo no tsubaki

 

I’m alive, talking

on the reconnected phone . . .

night camellia

 

淡雪や給水の列角曲がる

awayuki ya kyūsui no retsu kado magaru

 

light snow—

a queue for drinking water

bends at the corner

 

戻らない子猫よ放射線降る夜

modoranai koneko yo hōshasen furu yo

 

the kitten still missing . . .

the fallout

into the night

 

産土を汚すのはなに梅真白

ubusuna o kegasu no wa nani ume mashiro

 

what is violating

our guardian deity?

pure white plum blossoms

 

燕来て人消える街被爆中

tsubame kite hito kieru machi hibakuchū

 

swallows arrive

and people disappear from the town

radiation exposure

 

大なゐの後の春泥生臭し

ōnai no ato no shundei namagusashi

 

after the earthquake

the spring mud smells

fishy

 

ちちははの墓石は無事牡丹の芽

chichihaha no hakaishi wa buji botan no me

 

father and mother’s

tombstone is intact—

buds on a peony

 

県境にとどまる宅急便と春

kenkyō ni todomaru takkyūbin to haru

 

at the prefecture border

delivery trucks and spring

waiting

 

パンジーに水遣り忘れ震災後

panjī ni mizu yariwasure shinsaigo

 

forgotten to water

the pansies . . .

after the disaster

 

流されてもうないはずの橋朧

nagasarete mō naihazu no hashi oboro

 

washed away

the bridge that is no longer there

in the mist

 

春の月家は余震に耐へてをり

haru no tsuki ie wa yoshin ni taete ori

 

spring moon—

our house is bearing

the aftershock

 

残る子と避難する子と花種蒔く

nokoruko to hinansuruko to hanadane maku

 

a child remaining

a child leaving

we sow flower seeds together

 

復旧の貨車三十輌梨の花

fukkyū no kasha sanjūryō nashi no hana

 

thirty cars

in the restored supply train—

pear blossoms

 

誰も居ぬ花の校庭放射線

dare mo inu hana no kōtei hōshasen

 

an empty schoolyard

surrounded by cherry blossoms

radioactive rays

 

しやぼん玉見えぬ恐怖を子に残すな

shabondama mienu kyōfu o ko ni nokosuna

 

soap bubbles . . .

don’t pass on the invisible fear

to our children

 

蜂笑ふ手に負へぬもの飼うべからず

hachi warau te ni oenu mono kau bekarazu

 

a bee smiles

never keep anything

you cannot handle

 

避難所に春来るキャッチボールかな

hinanjo ni haru kuru kyatchbōru kana

 

spring comes

to a refugee camp . . .

playing catch

 

風評の苺せつなき甘さかな

fūhyō no ichigo setsunaki amasa kana

 

rumors of contamination

the strawberry’s

painful sweetness

 

牡丹園瓦礫置場となつてをり

botanen garekiokiba to natte ori

 

the peony garden

has become a depository

for debris

 

仕事場の更地となりぬ柿若葉

shigotoba no sarachi to narinu kakiwakaba

 

my workplace

becomes an empty lot

persimmons in young leaves

 

みごもるといふ知らせあり虹かかる

migomoru to iu shirase ari niji kakaru

 

news of her pregnancy

the rainbow

hangs in the air

 

山河青し沈黙の声聴きにゆく

sanga aoshi chinmoku no koe kiki ni yuku

 

mountains and rivers

so green, I go to listen

to the voice of silence

 

 

With his collection “Fukushima” (ふくしま) on the topic of the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, Nagase Tōgo (永瀬十悟) won the 57th Kadokawa Haiku Award (角川俳句賞). This award, dating from 1955 and offering a first prize of ¥300,000 (about $3,700), is the most remunerative competition in Japanese haiku. Prizes are given annually for a titled unpublished collection of fifty haiku. Previous winners include luminaries such as Murakoshi Kaseki, Suzuki Eiko, Tanaka Hiroaki, Yuki Noriko, Yamada Mizue, and Ōishi Etsuko. Popular poet Mayuzumi Madoka won the Kadokawa’s Encouraging Award in 1994, which launched her career. The 2011 judges were Ikeda Sumiko, Masaki Yūko, Hasegawa Kai, and Ozawa Minoru.

        Nagase was born in Sukagawa city, Fukushima prefecture, on March 29, 1953, and still resides there. Writing haiku since his twenties, he joined the Kikkō (桔槹) haiku group in 1988 and is now a dojin and involved in its haiku magazine. He is a member of the Association of Haiku Poets. His honors include the 56th Fukushima Prefecture Literature Award for Haiku (judged by Kaneko Tōta) and the 10th Kikkō Award.