December 17, 2012

Morning of the Last Farewell (Eiketsu no Asa)

My little sister,
About to depart to a place far beyond before the day is out.
The sleet has fallen outside, and it’s oddly bright.
(Gemme some ameyuju willyoo Kenj’ya.)

From the clouds of pale-red, that is all the more bleak,
The sleet comes a-dripping and a-drizzling down
(Gemme me some ameyuju willyoo Kenj’ya.)

Gathering the sleet snow for you to nibble on,
Inside two chipped porcelain bowls with
The junsai[water-shield]plant painted blue,
I, like a stray bullet,
Darted out into the dark of the [falling] sleet.
(Gemme me some ameyuju willyoo Kenj’ya.)

From the bismuth-colored dark clouds,
The sleet comes a-dripping and a-drizzling down.
Oh Toshiko,
At a time like this,
When you’re on the brink of death,
You have asked me for a scoop-full of refreshing snow,
Thank you, my little sister, so giving and brave,
I too will continue ahead straight onward.
(Gemme some ameyuju willyoo, Kenj’ya)

In between the oh-so violent fevers and gasping,
You asked me to get
The last bowl-ful of snow, descended from the skies,
The realm of galaxies and suns and atmospheres…
.. Upon two quarry-blocks of granite,
where the sleet are lonesomely deposited,
I perched upon them precariously.
And from the glistening pine-boughs
Filled with cold transparent beads that maintain
The hoar-white, two-phase equilibria betwixt snow and water,
I shall take away the last food for my little sister.
The indigo-colored patterns on the familiar bowls that
We grew up with,
You’ll be parted from them too, after today.
(Ora Orade Shitori egumo
[I'll just go off on my own I will])

It’s true, you really are departing from us today,
Oh, within the enclosure of the patient’s room,
On the other side of the dark folding-screen and mosquito nets,
You are burning away with pale blue light,
My little sister, so brave.
This snow is so awfully pure-white, wherever you might choose.
From those frightful, roiling skies,
This beautiful snow has come.
(I’m gonna be born again, and
next time, I’ll make sure everything won’t be so bad
I hurt so muuuch all the time.)

To those two bowl-fuls of snow you’re eating,
I will now pray, from my heart.
Oh may this [snow] now turn into a heavenly ice cream
Providing you and everyone holy sustenance.
This I pray with all the ability I can muster.

---Kenji Miyazawa

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