The Salted Sea Bream – World’s First Zip Kasen Renku & Tomegaki from Eiko Yachimoto

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Tomegaki – Kasen: The Salted Sea Bream (in English and Romaji)
Eiko Yachimoto
Yokosuka City, JP

Poetry is not only the business of poets but is for, and of, everybody. Of this I am sure. In other words, the first word of a baby is always a great poem. The first writing of a toddler is a precious keepsake. So also, for that matter, is a word uttered on the dying breath. In our everyday life, poetry tends to be deeply buried under “communication” which, in turn, is weighed down by all kinds of reasoning and analytical thinking.

A renku session is a place where opposite forces are at work — a place where we can revive the innate poet and regain our wholeness as persons. Should you start to feel loneliness after enjoying the glory of a laureate poet, you could try “the renku cure”, just as a businessman, weary of his managerial duties, could come and join a session. In this light, some critics might wonder how artistic the end product could be. Others might even conclude that renku is not actually literature, but only a social pastime, a game of words.

Yet aren’t there two kinds of art? Hidetoshi Fuse, an art critic of Japan, says that there is one type of art that grabs you right away, whilst the other works through the magic of time. Both kinds of art give your soul a sheer catharsis as you find yourself attuned to rhythms of the universe during appreciation of them. He goes on to say that unless you place yourself in the dark, then wait for your eyes to adjust, you could not appreciate the ultra-modern art of light created by James Turrell.

I find renku to be very much like Turrell’s art. It takes time, but this mechanism, which brings one into accord with the rhythms of the universe, has itself stood the test of time. Accordingly, just take note that, in our kasen, we have used the English language zip haiku style for the very first time in renku history!

Rhythms of the universe? Yes, but at the same time, we are living the realities of the 21st century. In our era, no language and no nation is free from influences from abroad. The introduction of the Euro or some other world currency to be contrived in the future, or the ability to bring the world to our fingertips through the Internet, will not enhance human happiness and well-being — unless we also secure an international art form by which to express our globalised psyche. While is true that music and movies are produced and exchanged as international collaborations, yet today, through the art of renku, such collaboration is truly within everybody’s reach. The antithesis of global capitalism, I believe that the prospect of personal, creative interaction is a very strong point in case for renku, especially since the new dangers of global economics have started to worry the world.

I hope, readers, that you will feel the heat of our collaboration. And if, through its reading, you find yourself tuned in to the rhythm of this very world we all share, I am more than rewarded for the astounding job of being a sabaki for these four brilliant international poets.

The Salted Sea Bream (Engish Version)
Poets: Matsuo Basho – John Carley – Kirsty Krakow – Paul Conneally – Debra Bender – Eiko Yachimoto

the salted sea bream’s ..grinning gums
……. .. .. .. ..look so cold ..at the fish shop .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……..mb

customers ..debate ..the likelihood of snow .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……….john

through cobalt blue ..and shreds of clouds
.. .. ..a red bi-plane ..approaches .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……..kirsty

thieves ..trying to rake the moon ..from a mill pond .. .. .. .. ………paul

.. .. .. .. old baskets ..release a musk
of mushrooms found ..in needle cast .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …….debra

out from the movies ..with winter ..at our heels .. .. .. .. .. .. …….eiko

the road-mender’s trousers ..as he turns his sign
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..from stop ..to go .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. … …..paul

what gravity ..woos iron ..to the magnet? .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …..debra

of all the lies ..I ever heard
.Cassandra’s ..were the sweetest .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. .. .. …john

we cleave ..to the transcendent joy ..of Kailas .. .. .. .. .. …….. ..kirsty

..a ribbon ..tied around a shoe box
filled with ..such mementoes .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . . .. ……. …paul

one quick swipe ..and the katydid ..is captured .. .. .. .. . ……… ..kirsty

blinking ..through a crack in the door frame
I watch .the silent moon .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …….john

milky way ..faintest ..over highway traffic.. .. . . .. …. …. .. ……..debra

Basho’s best ..in his briefcase
her first son ..takes the second train .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. ….paul

remembering ..where ..the reading glasses lie .. .. .. … .. .. ………kirsty

.. .. .. .. I awake ..with such sweet longing
for the fragrance ..of the May .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …. .. .. .. .. .. … john

twin girls ..in the Whit walk ..a flourish of brass.. .. .. .. .. .. ………paul

.. .. …barn music ..each day
the tractor burps ..and hiccups into life .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. .kirsty

a swollen river ..rushing madly ..past cows .. .. .. .. .. .. .,. ……….debra

.one eye out ..for Saharan swifts
he scrubs up ..the patio .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …… ..paul

Afghan aid talks ..chaired by Sadako ..Tokyo .. .. .. .. .. ……… ….eiko

.. .. .. flickering ..through the substance
of the shadows ..of the forest .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. ….. …..john

the fleet ..rounds a cape ..against the wind .. .. .. .. .. .. ………….kirsty

this morning ..I can’t think straight
.for the pain ..in my left molars .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. .. .. .. …..paul

so shy a boy ..his heartfelt words ..just won’t come .. .. .. …………paul

.. .. ..drowning ..in two sapphire lakes
wanting to kiss ..two garnet lips .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. …kirsty

a radio ..sings ..to an empty kitchen .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……. ….john

over the hills ..and under the moon
.. ..unmoving ..sultry heat .. .. .. .. .. …. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ….. ….debra

“owzat! owzat!” ..hundreds of lager cans ..hiss.. .. . .. .. ………. …john

when I turn ..a calendar page
……Hawai’i ..comes back to me .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …. …… …..debra

if only ..we had not eaten ..that apple .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ……..john

it’s hard to understand ..the falling
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..yen ..versus the dollar .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ………kirsty

overnight ..molehills have arrived ..with the melt .. .. .. .. .. ……. ..paul

my pregnant neighbour ..stops to stroke
.. .. …………….. nubs ..on the pussy willow .. … .. .. .. . … … ….debra

“what a wonder…”.. in the blossom haze ..Satchmo… . .. . …………eiko

————————————–

Kasen: Shio-Dai no maki (Romaji Version)

Yaku/Sabaki: Yachimoto Eiko

shiodai no (5) haguki mo samushi (7) uo no mise (5) Matsuo Basho

….yuki moyoi shite (7) kyaku no danron (7) John Carley

kumo chigiri (5) akaki fukuyo -(7) chikazukite(5) Kirsty Karkow

….suisha no ike no (7) tsuki o kumadede (7) Paul Conneally

ha tsuku mama (5) matsutake kaoru (7) furuki kago (5) Debra Bender

….eigakan dete (7) fuyudonaru machi (7) Eiko Yachimoto

kôji chû (5) te shingo – yue (7) zubon zure (5) Paul

….jishaku ni tetsu o (7) hiku chikara towa? (7) Debra

koi no uso (5) kasandora koso (7) sekai ichi (5) John

….kairasu san yo (7) kano kôkotsu yo (7) Kirsty

kutsu bako ni (5) omoide tsumete (7) ribon kake (7) Paul

….satto katatede (7) toru kirigirisu (7) Kirsty

Man-gekko (5) ita no wareyori (7) nozoki iru (5) John

….hai wê no saki (7) ginga kasokeshi (7) Debra

Basho yomu (5) niban ressha no (7) chônan-bô (5.5) Paul

….doko ni oitaka (7) megane yo megane (7) Kirsty

hana sanzashi (6) nioi motomeru (7) yume nariki (5) John

….witto wôku no (7.5) haregi no shôjo (7) Paul

naya no uta (5) torakutâ kyômo (8) shidôseri (5) Kirsty

….ushi tachi no waki (7) haru demizu toshi (7) Debra

en arau (5) zujyô sahara no (7) tsubame kite(5) Paul

….afugan kaigi (7) sabaki shi sadako (7) Eiko

miekakuru (5) gensho no mori no (7) bôrei ka (5) John

….misaki o mawaru (7) kaze no kantai (7) Kirsty

“kesa fuchô (5) hidari okuba ni (7) itami ari” (5) Paul

….mune ko gare temo (7) shônen no moda (7) Paul

safaia ni (5) obore sugaru wa (7) gânetto (5) Kirsty

….tada rajio naru (7) mujin no kittchin (7.5) John

kifuku ôu (6) nekki ugokazu (7) tsuki hikushi Debra

….”pussh!” issei ni (5.5) kan bîru ake (7) John

karendâ (5) kuttewa hawai no (7.5) shima shinobu (5) Debra

….ano ringo sae (7) tabezuni ireba (7) John

tai doru no (5) en no rakka wa (7) nani yue zo (5) Kirsty

….yukige ga hakobu (7) mogura no tsuchimori (8) Paul

birô do no (5) neko-yanagi nazu (7) migomori-me (5) Debra

….hana no kasumi e (7) Satchimo no koe (7) Eiko

Started by our host John E. Carley on 16th December 2001
Completed: 12 February 2002

Translator’s Note:

Translation is like arching a bridge, and the mental activities are quite similar to those required for writing linked verses. In fact, I used the traditional teaching of the genre (renga, haika no renga, renku) passed down from medieval times for my translation. This practice, called shicchu no hô, encourages linking poets to read each previous verse deeply, so that he can draw the main, essential voice/tone/substance on which to write a link.

My goal is that readers who read English version, and readers who read the Japanese version, can share the same impression, same resonance, same information. From this view point, I have to say that the translation above is short of 100% perfection for the following two reasons:

1. Whit walk — for the Japanese readership who do not possess any concept/image of a Whit walk:

I judged the word haregi — defined: ‘the finest clothes for very important and very jolly occasion’, — a meaning not included in the original, as useful. As a result I was not able to include ‘a flourish of brass’. If I had included brass music, Japanese readers would most likely get the image of different kind of parade, not a Whit walk.

2. Ozat, Ozat — for the Japanese readership who are not familiar with the game of cricket, I wish I could have included the word cricket in my translation, but it was not feasible. Readers of the translation get the picture of many, many people opening beer cans at the same time and they might think the phenomenon is happening in a ballpark (baseball) or a succour place (or should I say arena?) before they read the footnote.

I appreciate Paul for letting us learn these very attractive cultural words through this renku. In fact, the more difficult the translation, the more joy at the end…

Last but not least, thank you Mr. Haku Asanuma for reading the Japanese text
and giving me many valuable advices. Based on his advice I edited several verses. One example is that I decided not to use sei-gekko — meaning ‘silent moon light’. Moonlight in the Japanese language and Japanese poetry tradition is considered silent without saying so. In order for the Japanese text to stand as poetry, I decided to follow his advice. I am so humbled by his understanding though a few of his advisements for the better Japanese could not be incorporated in order not to deviate from the English original.

Eiko Yachimoto
19 April, 2002

The Salted Sea Bream

Started: 16th December 2001
Completed: 12th February 2002
Kasen: The Salted Sea Bream

Hosted by: John Edmund Carley, UK
Led by: Eiko Yachimoto, JP
Hokku by: Matsuo Basho, JP

Contributors: Debra Woolard Bender (US), John Edmund Carley (UK), Paul Conneally (UK), Kirsty Karkow (US), Eiko Yachimoto (JP)

Thanks to: Haku Asanuma (JP), Susumu Takiguchi (UK), Sheila Windsor (UK)

Facilitated: WHCjapan – The World Haiku Club

Translation: Hokku by Matsuo Basho trans.
Eiko Yachmoto & John Edmund Carley
Copyright: the poets individually and collectively

First published World Haiku Review

John Carley designed the Zip Haiku and Renku form read about it here:
John Carley on the Zip Haiku and Renku Form

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4 thoughts on “The Salted Sea Bream – World’s First Zip Kasen Renku & Tomegaki from Eiko Yachimoto

    • Ha! Nice John!
      The added allusion – the moon raking story I was thinking of is one local to here at Gotham where the locals fearing a visit from the King as he travelled North which would undoubtedly result in a tax on them feigned madness by raking the village pond for the moon when the kings men previsited the village – they rerouted the King!

  1. Pingback: The Salted Sea Bream – World’s First Zip Kasen Renku & Tomegaki from Eiko Yachimoto | Burn The Water | word pond

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