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Kuroda Saburo / 黒田三郎 – Ⅱ

Prisoners of an Era 





Freedom of speech

and freedom of action

are taken from them.

What else

do prisoners have?

Very little,

people say.

A corner of sky

torn from the window,


and dream.


Who will remember

what happened there?

At the prison gates,

the prisoners take back

what was seized from them,

hats and clothes they recognize.



The joy


of their release

into a future dreamt through memory.

Who will remember what they’ve forgotten?


And then





When you lose so much as a single marble,

a huge hole opens up in your chest,

but once you’ve forgotten,

the marble rolls out of a dusty cupboard.

It’s only a marble,

but you burst into tears.

Sometimes you don’t even burst into tears,

but the huge hole in your chest fills up.

It feels so ordinary,

so familiar.

Have you ever idly stood

under the trees of the twilit blue boulevard,

on pavement that smells of the gutter,

with a marble in your palm?




What is taken is taken.

What is taken back is taken back.

Corpses cover the field.

Flowers bloom in their shadows.


Now happiness fills your heart to the brim.

Freedom glitters in your palm.

What do you have in your heart

that cannot be taken?

What did you have in your hand

that was not taken?

What cannot be taken back?


In those lost days,

behind bars,

what did you tell yourself?

In the crowds of the station,

what did you tell yourself?


And now,

in the midst of your newfound happiness

and freedom,

what can you tell yourself?