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Tanikawa Shuntaro / 谷川俊太郎 – Ⅷ

 Sweet Nothings for the World


For Joji Yuasa




Stars have a language in the context of the universe.

So does Earth in nostalgic silence.

Fire, water, trees and wind, too, have languages –

languages people can neither speak nor write.


Yet people can hear those languages

with the help of your ears.



When music gives its first cry, language falls silent

overwhelmed by awe and longing.


Where would you be at that moment,

jotting down the notes one by one,

your fingers extending towards the depths of the soul’s darkness?



You set out on a journey towards an unreachable horizon

guided by the voice of antiquity remembered in your cells,

at times stamping your feet like a giant,

at times fluttering like a butterfly.



The sounds of rubbing, of blowing, of beating, of singing and of vanishing –.

Sound invites sound and sound grows pregnant with sound.

Music is sweet nothings for the boundless world.


It is the roar of whirling nebulae

heard in a baby’s smile.






All poems by Tanikawa Shuntaro. Translated by William I. Elliott and Kawamura Kazuo