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Tatehata Akira / 建畠晢 – Ⅴ

When a Bird Fell

–to Tamura Ryuichi1)




A bird fell.

It fell with words.

So there ought to be an invisible bird-shaped hollow left in the sky.

We must look up at the sky, not at the bird that fell.

We must look up at the words that were lost from it.

The words that were lost with a bird,

those words are invisible

but we can know the sad outlines of things lost,

the small outline of a small bird,

the small words of small outlines.

We look up at the huge hollow in the sky where those small words were lost

when a bird fell.




  1. 1) Tamura Ryuichi (1923-1998) published his first book of poems, 4000 Days and Night, in 1956. A member of the short-lived postwar Wasteland group—there was a group with the same name before the Pacific War, which was equally short-lived—he described the spiritual “wasteland” the war had brought in a dry, declarative tone. The opening poem is called “A Phantom Seer” and begins:

A bird falls from the sky

For a single bird shot dead in a deserted place

The field exists


A scream escapes from the window

For a single scream shot dead in a deserted room

The world exists.





All poems by Tatehata Akira. Translated by Sato Hiroaki.