I read the Malayalam translation of this poem* in Mathrubhumi Weekly, August 25, 2013. Enjoyed reading it. So, sharing. More at Poetry International Web.

*© 2006, Shuntaro Tanikawa
From: Poet's Tomb
Publisher: Shueisha, Tokyo, 2006, 4087753662

In a certain place there lived a young man
Who lived by writing poetry
He wrote a poem of celebration when someone got married
He wrote a poem to be carved on a tombstone when someone died

People offered many things to thank him
Some brought a basket full of eggs
Some sewed a shirt for him
Some just cleaned his room because they had nothing else to offer

He was happy for whatever was given to him
He thanked everyone just the same
An old woman for the gold ring she gave him
A little girl for the paper doll she made for him all by herself

He had a name but
People called him Poet.  They did not use his name
He seemed embarrassed at first but
He got used to it by and by

His fame reached far and orders came in from distant places
Cat lovers asked for poems on cats
Gluttons asked for poems on food
Lovers asked for poems on love

He did not decline any requests however hard they were
He would sit at this rickety old table
Stare into space for a little while
Then somehow came up with a poem

His poems were admired by everybody
Poems that make you cry out loud
Poems that make you laugh until your stock hurts
Poems that make you think long and hard

People asked him various questions
“How come you can write so well?”
“What should I study if I want to be a poet?”
“Where do you get such beautiful words?”

But he gave no answers.
He couldn’t, even if he wanted to.
All he could say was, “I don’t know either.”
People said he was a nice guy.

One day a young woman came to see him.
She had read his poems and wanted to meet him.
He fell in love with her at first sight
Effortlessly wrote a poem, and dedicated it to her.

When she read the poem she felt an emotion she could not describe.
She could not tell whether she was sad or happy
She felt like scratching out the stars in the night sky
She felt like going back to a time before she was born.

This is not a human feeling, she thought.
If this is not divine, this may be of the devil
He kissed her like a breeze
She was not certain if she was in love with him or his poetry.

From that day on she lived with him
When she made breakfast, he wrote a poem about breakfast
When she picked wild berries, he wrote a poem about wild berries
When she disrobed, he wrote a poem on her beauty

She was proud that he was a poet
She thought writing poetry was far more impressive
Than plowing the land, building machines,
Selling jewels, or being a king

But once in a while she felt lonely
When she broke a treasured plate
He did not get angry, but consoled her
She was glad, but felt something was missing

When she told him about the grandmother she left behind
Tears fell from his eyes
But next day he’d totally forgotten about it
She thought there was something odd about that

Yet she was happy
She wished to be with him for a long long time
As she told him so, he held her tight to his chest
His eyes were looking into space, not at her

He always wrote poetry alone
He had no friends
When he was not writing poetry
He looked utterly bored

He didn’t know the names of flowers, not a single one
Yet he wrote many a poem about flowers
He was given many flower seeds for thanks
She grew flowers in the yard

One evening she was sad though she didn’t know why
She clung to him and cried out loud
On the spot he wrote a poem praising tears welling up
She tore up the poem and threw it away

He looked sad
Looking at his face, crying even harder, she screamed
“Tell me something that is not a poem—
Anything will do, just say it to me!”

He stayed silent, looking down
“You have nothing to say, do you?
You are just hollow
All things simply pass through you”

“I live only now in this space,” he said
“I have no yesterday or tomorrow
I dream of a place void of everything
Because this world is too bountiful and too beautiful!”

She hit him with her fists
Many many times with all her might
Then his body grew limpid—
His heart, brain, bowels, all became invisible like air

Through him a town came into her view
She saw children playing hide and seek
She saw lovers in their firm embrace
She saw Mom stirring a cooking pot

A drunken official came into her view
She saw a carpenter sawing a piece of lumber
She saw an old man choking on his coughs
She saw a tombstone that seemed ready to fall apart

She came to and found herself standing all alone
By the tombstone
The blue sky was as vast as she had always seen it
Not a single word was carved on the tombstone
© 2006, Shuntaro Tanikawa
From: Poet's Tomb
Publisher: Shueisha, Tokyo, 2006, 4087753662


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