Friday, September 14, 2012

Lovers of Wisdom

The Wisdom of River

Earth-colored water hesitates, flows
I realize it is a river
The descendant of formless underground dwellers,
the water is heading toward the sea, that much I know
but I don’t know when and how it welled up

As the train crosses the river a young woman next to me yawns
There is something welling up, too, from the shadowy depth of her mouth
Suddenly I realize my brain is more dull-witted than my flesh

Feeling uneasy that I, the flesh, riding a train,
am made mostly of water
I, the brain, prop myself up with words

Sometime in a distant past, somewhere in a distant place
words were much less voluminous, but
their ties to the nether world were perhaps much stronger

Water remains on this planet
morphing into seas, clouds, rains and ice
Words, too, cling to this planet
morphing into speeches, poems, contracts and treaties

I, too, cling to this planet

by Shuntaro Tanikawa
from Watashi (I Myself)
publisher: Shichosha, Tokyo, 2007
translation: Takako Lento, 2011

Little Free Libraries pop up in Italy and siberia

The fruit of a narrow-leaved campion, buried in permafrost by a ground squirrel 32,000 years ago on the banks of the Kolyma river in Siberia, has been coaxed into growing into a new plant, which then successfully set seed itself in a Moscow laboratory.