from The Forest Sounds Like Waves

Ken'ichi Sasō

Today Is Four Billion Years of Personal Experience

Today brought to mind the era of fish.
Are we heading against the tide?

Today brought to mind the era of amphibians.
Are we expanding our field of vision to include both sea and land?

Today brought to mind the era of reptiles.
Do I feel the naked form of the globe in my belly?

Today brought to mind the era of small nocturnal animals.
Can we survive without succumbing to dinosaur politics?

Today brought to mind the era of forest monkeys.
Can we contemplate a healthy life?

Today brought to mind the journey of Australopithecus.
Are we demolishing dead-end thinking with creativity?

Today brought to mind early humans, smiling and exhilarated.
Are we shouting out the awe of being alive?

Today brought to mind the arrival of people at the islands of Japan.
Should we discuss this with the people of Asia?
<Hello      Friends     To start, let’s disarm and shake hands>

Today should we try to tightly embrace DNA worn out from
living, the environment, and war?
<Hello      Living in the mixture of all those eras of human history is great!
In this heart, the poem of humanity is crying with a smile on its face!>

Today I greeted a bird that was born unable to sing.
Will it walk across the lands known as authentic human society?

Making the most of the cell of a dream amidst reality—today,
with a new feeling, will we speak and share our voices?

New Forest

Where am I?

Where you stand?

Here is the opposite of over there.

In a forest
beyond the wind.

Familiar trees are here,
as well as ones you’ve never seen.
Somehow it appears that here
is not a different planet.

No, on the contrary
the truth
is the same as before, probably here too.

While being the same as before
it also differs completely.


Is a matter of living.


The time when you knew the unknown thing.
The time when, with someone else, you comprehended it.
The time when you found something somewhere.
Toward the direction of that illumination.

Or possibly you collided with a difficult mountain.
Sorrow surges forward.
In the dream of a mountain stream,
the time when something ascends.
Unknown to people, a wind from the interior jolts
toward the direction of the mist.

It is here where you can see the new forest.

Look at the map of the heart—
there’s a long way to go.

You’ve come this far.

Wherever you may go,
the origin was the ocean.
Flowing from a forest spring, a river joins with the ocean,
so mountains, too, are the origin.

Ladling new water not only numbs with coldness
but also evokes warm emotions.
The chill, too, has its gentleness.

And so it continues.
Into the innermost.

Those who visit the forest’s interior
exist as though nameless
and are famous.
With every legend
eyes shut,
and the stories rustle.

At the moment when they narrowly miss each other.

While burdened with it all,
everything is brand new.

With unknown whereabouts, it becomes possible
to think about one’s path with joy.

Where am I?

In a forest
beyond the wind.


The truth
of blue and spring

is dark and dull,

is gloomy and distressing.

Even so,
the green that chokes the grass,
the yellow and pink that throb
might appear blue.

<You’re still a greenhorn.>
It’s not negotiable.

The ability to be blue—
as it is, that
is a fantastic thing.

As we continue living,
the heavy rain falls.
Thunder rumbles in bones and their empty cave.

We cannot see what lies ahead.
Storms blow away precious things, one after another.
The roof never stops leaking.
Gray scenery grows black.
No longer visible, the original color has left us.

Despite it all, if we can hold on,
the soft breeze will come,
the rain will stop.

Over the silver color there comes
the newly nuanced
blue sky.

With sunset blurring,
new power arises.

Bones feel
that this wind filling their empty cave
must be love.

The ultramarine of the night sky is not darkness.
Washed by the moon,
it is a blue richer than
the clear mid-day sky.

Life itself
might be
much bluer.

Maybe the rain will return, but
rain permeated with love
is nothing to fear.

<You are still a greenhorn.>
<You will remain so in the future.>

That is the vast ocean of affirmation.

translated from the Japanese by Noriko Hara and Joe DeLong