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Yomota Inuhiko-V

Gen. Regulus, Escorted Back to Carthage[1]


This beach

this sunset with which I sit face to face

the waves that keep striking, the jetty that’s wet with waves

the marble buildings that glint

the people, with the warships back, delighting noisily in trading things

many a bottle of spice and condiment laid out on the carpets on the wharf

looking at these, am I really this I?


The soldiers surrounding me

their lips roaring victoriously

looking at them up close, tormented by anxiety

is it I whose hands have just been freed from the ropes?


Carthage captured me again

they didn’t even declare death

the mercenary captain in armor and helmet with peacock designs on them

had a page take out a small pair of scissors

and was content to snip the muscles of both of my eyelids.

I was thrown out onto the beach boiling with joy

into the midst of base crowds where stone-rubbing words flew back and forth.


Things that are reflected in my eyes

I can no longer close:

the setting sun, the waves that roll in, the merchants

these are the last images on earth I see.

Neither the Artemis incarnate

nor my beloved children playing in the land I own

but the market spectacles that are in any coastal town:

merchants with their bottles and boxes laid out on their carpets

with hookahs in their mouths chatting with customers

a child chasing a dog, a dressed-up woman with her porter carrying a pot.

None of these barbarians know my fate

that my eyeballs will soon dry up and lose their light.


In the distance golden waves roll, the sunset is close at hand.

But my eyes won’t be able to ascertain the morning

when soft light shines on the sea again.

In no time a fierce flash of light will assault me

and everything will be left in the amorphous muddiness of light:

Waves rolling in and carpets, glass bottles and children

how peaceful and banal these last images are:

I collapse within the world’s indifference.


The eyes that salt was rubbed into begin to hurt,

eyes that have dried and begun to mist,

if I had any wish, it would be this:

This evening when I, having lost all, wander the streets,

would that tears be allowed to flow in my blinded eyes.

What kind of god would grant this small consolation?

[1] The Roman general Marcus Atilius Regulus (d. 250 B.CC.) was defeated and captured in one of the battles against Carthage. The New Century Classical Handbook, ed. Catherine Avery (Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962), says: “the Carthaginians sent Regulus, who had been held in captivity for five years, with an embassy to Rome to ask for peace or an exchange of prisoners. Regulus is said to have given his word that he would return to Carthage. When his embassy produced no results because he himself strongly advised the Senate not to accept the Carthaginian terms, he refused to follow the advice of friends who urged him to stay in Rome. Instead, he went back to Africa and was tortured to death. Later, Carthaginian prisoners who were handed over to his family were put to death with most cruel tortures.”










戦船の帰還を迎え 騒がしく交易に興じる人々


これらを眺めているのは はたしてこのわたしなのか



不安に苛まれながら 間近に眺めているのは









石を擦るような言葉の飛び交う 卑賤な雑踏のなか




夕陽 打ち寄せる波 商人たち

それはわたしが見る 地上の最後の映像


わが所領地に遊ぶ 愛する子供らの姿でもない

海辺の町ならどこにでもある 市場の光景だ


水煙管を咥え 客たちとお喋りをしている

子供が犬を追いかけ 着飾った女が軽子に壺を運ばせている

蛮族の誰ひとりとして わたしの運命を知らない

わたしの眼球がもうすぐ乾ききって 光を喪ってしまうことを


遠くで黄金が曲波(うね)る 日没が間近だ









塩を擦りつけられ 痛み始めた眼



すべてを喪い 路頭を彷徨う夕べにあって


この(ささ)やかな慰めを許してくれるのは いかなる神なのか