Skip to content

Tanikawa Shuntaro / 谷川俊太郎 – Ⅲ

On Earth




While angels grieve over the sky’s blue and the trees’ green

people are suffering the suffering of their loved ones.

When from their cirrocumulus height

the winged ones eye each grain of rice in the pantry,

each grain becomes a star and emits light.

But people don’t stop crawling around,

their palms and ankles covered with mud and blood.


When we die, will we be able to forget everything,

even sins we have committed while we are alive?

If so, where will those memories of love go

that delighted and tormented us?

Angels can’t see the hatred that lurks in love.

Those winged ones that will never die go on smiling

in their bodies that are innocent of sin and shame.


If we listen in the crowd to the momentary consolation

of the songs of those innocent ones

flying in circles over people’s heads,

the serpents that have been coiled in the depths of our bodies waken.

If we fear sin, can living be at all joyful?

This earth is not a planet that science explains to us.

It is a transient wasteland where mortals are dancing.