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Nagase Kiyoko / 永瀬清子 – Ⅴ

My Aged She-Devil 



My aged she-devil who lives in the cavern,

coughs on a cold frosty morning,

now visible, now invisible, between sun and moss.


My Grendel’s mother—

Threatening the king’s castle with howls,

smashing his arrogant feast,

she took back her son’s arm

that was mounted high on a beam.

She grabbed like straw bundles the necks of

warriors who put up a fight, and chortled—

One who dashes over the fields alone,

one who lets her hair flow like rain clouds,

lilies fall,

thistles are splattered with blood—


In the light toward dawn,

fee alone, shining alone, sublime,

in her mind there’s no king,

outside herself there isn’t a single law.

She eats wild beasts, wears their hides;

her heart is darkly torn, body lacerated,

her teeth are as white as the waves rolling in from the North Sea when she guffaws.


For a long time an aged she-devil has lived in my cavern.

Oh, could it be her?

No urbanity, no gaiety,

the only thing I sharpen: tusks of egotism.

My copper-hued hair now withered,

only my eyes are red, about to be buried in wrinkles.

I still think of the freedom of my youthful days,

my legs stand like those birch trees upon the hill

but now I have no way of leaping across a valley.


Under the starry sky, I barely avoid frost in my cavern

and warm the dreams of the good old days.


Waking, my aged she-devil


stirs to cook broth,

now visible, now invisible, beyond the moss.