Ryuichi Tamura

Ryuichi Tamura Poems

I should never have learned words
how much better off I'd be
if I lived in a world
where meanings didn't matter,
the world with no words

If beautiful words take revenge against you
it's none of my concern
If quiet meanings make you bleed
it also is none of my concern

The tears in your gentle eyes
the pain that drips from your silent tongue -
I'd simply gaze at them and walk away
if our world had no words

In your tears
is there meaning like the core of a fruit?
In a drop of your blood
is there a shimmering resonance of the evening glow
of this world's sunset?

I should never have learned words
Simply because I know Japanese and bits of a foreign tongue
I stand still inside your tears
I come back alone into your blood

I found footmarks in the snow
When I saw them
I witnessed, for the first time,
a world ruled by
small animals, little birds and beasts of the woods
Take the squirrel, for example -
his clawmarks came down the old elm tree
crossed the footpath
and disappeared into a grove of fir trees
I saw in them
not a moment of hesitation, unease, or smart question marks
Take the fox, too -
his footprints went on and on,
straight, down the path along the valley
on the north side of a village
The hunger I know
would never trace a line that straight
My mind never possessed the nimble, blind, affirmative
rhythms of those footmarks
Take, for example, the single bird -
her footprints cleaner than her voice,
her nail marks more defined than her life
her wings carved against the snowy slope
The fear I know
would never manifest itself in such a simple pattern
My mind never moved to such sensual, heathen, and affirmative
rhythms as her wings

All of a sudden a gigantic sunset reaches the top of Mt. Asama
Some presence
shapes the forest,
pushes open the valley's mouth,
and rips apart the cold air
I return to a shack
I start a fire in a stove
I am
an invisible tree
an invisible bird
an invisible small animal
I think only of invisible rhythms


Hoya is now
in the middle of autumn. I am now
in the middle of misery
The misery has deep origins
It has a deep-rooted history.

Blazing summer has finally ended
Autumn breezes pass from one end to the other of the Musashino plain
My small house sits on a spot
in dark Musashino, silent Musashino

In my small house
I have a small room of my own
In the small room I turn on a light
I labor, zeroing in on my misery,
until the deep-rooted misery in my heart
thrusts its roots into the earth, and
grows into that gigantic Zelkova tree
in my forsaken backyard


The world with no words is a sphere in bright daylight
I am an upright man

The world with no words is the world of poetry at noon.
I cannot stay horizontal


I must use words to find the world with no words
I must find a sphere in bright daylight, poetry at noon
I am an upright man
I cannot stay horizontal


In the bright daylight of June
the sun was above my head
I was among a huge herd of rocks
the rocks were corpses
An active volcano
had erupted
to spread energy
to spew lava,
that died

Why at this time
is every shape a corpse of energy?
Why at this moment
is every color and rhythm a corpse of energy?
A bird,
a large eagle, for example,
watches, but does not judge
as he slowly circles above us
Why at this time
does he merely observe every shape of energy?
Why at this time
would he not try to judge
every color and rhythm?
Rocks are corpses
I drink milk and
gnaw away at bread like a grenadier


the morphology of extinct energy
white-hot flow that has denied itself fluidity
images of flames that have completely cooled
having not been formed by love and fear


A bird's eyes are evil itself
He watches, but does not judge
A bird's tongue is evil itself
He swallows, but does not judge


Look, the sharply cleft tongue of a mountain crow
Look, a great spotted woodpecker's tongue like a heathen god's spear
Look, a mountain snipe's tongue like an engraver's chisel
Look, a tiger thrush's tongue, a pliable deadly weapon

He watches, but does not judge
He swallows, but does not judge


I walk
down a path cold as Pluto
I go down the path 13 kilometers to a shack
along the lava flow
along the path of death and procreation
along the path of an ebb tide more gigantic than I have ever seen

I am a grenadier
I am a ship-wrecked sailor
I am a bird's eye
I am an owl's tongue


I watch with my blind eyes
I fall, with my blind eyes open
I hang out my tongue and destroy tree bark
I hang out my tongue, but not to caress love or justice
Thorns grow on my tongue like harpoons. They are not for easing fear and hunger


The way of death and procreation is
the way of small animals and insects
It is a way with no criticism or anti-criticism
with no meaning of meanings
with no criticism of criticisms
with no swarm of honey bees noisily buzzing away
with no needles, in thousands and tens of thousands, lying in ambush
It is a way with no vain constructions or petty hopes
It is a way where there's absolutely no use for metaphors, symbols, or imagination
What it has are destruction and procreation
What it has are re-creation and fragmentation
What it has are fragments and fragments inside fragments
What it has are broken pieces and broken pieces inside broken pieces
What it has is a gigantic pattern inside a pattern
It is the way of similes in cold June
Air sacs branch out of vermillion lungs
Allowing its air sacs as cold as ice to infuse air to the marrow of its bones
a bird flies
A bird flies inside a bird.


The bird's eyes are evil itself
The bird's tongue is evil itself
He destroys, but does not build
He re-creates, but does not create
He is a fragment, a fragment inside a fragment
He has an air sac, but he does not have a hollow heart
His eyes and his tongue are evil itself, but he is not evil
Burn, Bird
Burn, Bird, all Birds
Burn, Bird, small animals, every small animal
Burn, death and procreation
Burn, way of death and procreation


The June thoroughly chilled, like Pluto
The way as utterly cold as Pluto
I run down
the way of death and procreation
I am adrift
I fly

I am a grenadier
I am also a brave enemy
I am a shipwrecked sailor
But I am an ebbing tide
I am a bird
I am also a blind hunter
I am a hunter
I am an enemy
I am a brave enemy


I will get
to the shack by sundown
Short scrawny shrubs will turn into a huge forest
and the flowing lava, the sun and the ebbing tide
will be stopped by my tiny dream
I will drink a glass of bitter water
as if it were poison, I will drink it slowly
I will close my eyes, and open them again
I will cut whiskey with water


I will not go back to the shack
I could not cut words with meanings
as one cuts whiskey with water

The wheat harvest is done, and
Summer has arrived for humans
Massive lush greenery
is now hiding
the path that was visible far ahead

If a poet's job is
to see what is not visible
human summer is
a season of hell for a minor poet
With a straw hat on his head

a thin fellow is running down a footpath between rice paddies
Some say beautiful poetry hides
a poisonous snake to snare you
He must be flying through a village microcosm
so as not to be bitten by the snake

In my dreams
the sun
is always above my head
and it keeps growing a pitch-black corona
Since midday
on that summer's day
30 years ago
incomprehensible dreams have persisted
dreams of a strange circulatory movement
of the sun and the blackness

at the end of each dream
always a vertical thin line
divides the corona
When I wake up from the dream
the thin line starts from
a small Zen temple
at Wakasa
at noon
on August 15, 1945
stretches to the small yard
of my house
at 5-38-18 Inamuragasaki

Did my feet
step off the thin line?
Or did they not?

Did they not?
Did they?

Crisis is my nature
There is a fierce hurricane of feelings
under my smooth skin There is
a fresh corpse thrown up
on the desolate shore of October

October is my Empire
My delicate hands control things to be lost
My small eyes watch things that are to disappear
My soft ears listen to the silence of people who are to die

Fear is my nature
The Time that murders everything
flows in my rich blood There is
a new hunger trembling
in the cold sky of October

October is my Empire
My dead armies occupy all cities where rain falls
My dead patrol planes circle in the sky above the lost souls
My dead mobs sign their names for the people who are going to die

I shouldn't have learned a language
A world without words
How good it would be
If I lived in a world where meaning does not become meaning

Even if you are revenged by beautiful words
It has nothing to do with me
And even though you shed blood for some quiet meaning
It has nothing to do with me either

The tears that are in your tender eyes
The pain that is falling from the tongue of your silence
If there were no words in our world
I would merely stare at it and leave

Is there as much meaning in your tears
as there is in the core of a piece of fruit
Is there an echo of the sunset in one drop of your blood
which makes you tremble in the twilight of this world

I shouldn't have learned a language
Simply because I learned Japanese and bits of foreign languages
I stand still inside your tears
I return absolutely alone into your blood

they died without even shedding green

before they return to the soil
they change to the color of soil
the color of
the silence that has died one death

why does everything
seem transparent even though we walked endlessly
through the border of day and night
through the withered leaves

a man
whose star is fixed
does not turn back


What kind of dream do you have
when you wake up
Are you being chased
to the end of the earth by a blue lion?
or do you drift while you drink golden whiskey
in the arms of a dead man?

Morning the bell of a hung over telephone rings
You stretch out your leaden arms
Oh I wasn't having such bad dreams
the blue lion and
the golden whiskey

At the moment you wake up
things that go to sleep for the first time inside you
you see only in dreams
I cannot say it well but
at a certain moment in a man's life
there is even a dream
where you cannot see the horizon on land or sea


I heard talk about ants somewhere
I firmly believed that the ant is a symbol of industriousness
That is completely wrong
for example
out of ten
only one is diligently carrying food
the other nine just wander around back and forth and left and right
I hear
pretending to be very busy
full of vitality
and being lazy

I want to become an ant, too
joining the group of nine
I should make an ideological scream

what is more surprising
is the ant's sleeping habits

They are awake only two hours
and spend a good twenty two hours asleep

I want to publish a book of poems by that name
if I can survive that long
it will be a full eighteen years I

will remain asleep like the ants
I want to write a diagnosis of the mental abnormality
of the one that silently continues carrying the food

Today's work is over
good night

The light of stars
The flowers in the fields
The horizon at sea rolled back
The horizon on land upside down
There is a face under the hat
if I open a door someone is there
a bird's feather
a small animal's footprints
carved in snow
the rapid descent of the evening sun in autumn
the hazy moon in spring

I once wrote
'Time does not expire
People expire'

I've seen any number of people expire
and I
will expire in the end

I can see
but what in the world did my eyes see

Only time

A mountain cherry tree in the forest covered with dark and light young leaves
after looking at the petals I go out to town
The cherry trees in town
have been created by human hands from natural cherry trees
In the small garden at my house
a Yoshino cherry stands quite stately
At its roots wild birds and cats that lived eighteen years
are buried
and in those cherry blossoms
the light of death and the sadness of life dwell

I don't think
anybody has seen my footprints
no matter what sand beach washed by waves
no matter what desert assaulted by sand storms
no one can understand the meaning
even if they hear the words
so the words are
nothing but bird language
Small birds come up to me, but
eagles and hawks just watch cautiously
with their sharp eyes from high up in the sky
Even though my Japanese language is clear
no one responds A few did
but they're all dead

My meals are simple
If there is a little cheese and red wine, that will be enough
People say nicotine prevents senility
so less than ten light cigarettes

As for reading lying down on a wooden bed
I read the world's miserable stories and histories
and as I read I fall asleep
When I open my eyes it's a refreshing morning
I put in my clean false teeth
and open the morning paper
It doesn't matter to me
whether the dollar goes down or the yen goes up
It's nice if there is a report of an interesting murder

There is even a smell of religion
in the human behavior called murder
There is no chance of a drama exactly like sex being born in the Holocaust
of one human being poisoning other human beings or shooting them
and asserting an alibi Speaking of which I remember a foreign movie called
'Murder Without Passion'
My epitaph is decided
carved on the stone in the forest in bird language
'My life was beautiful'

It is not
a bleeding rhythm, or
a poetic rhythm that freezes the heart

It is a vortex
too fluid and formless
something evil in its essence

It is a violent brilliance wildly reflecting the whole world's sunset
It is the gravity of a soul
coming down from a height beyond the stratosphere

Suddenly a window opens
a man leans out and screams something
He is screaming, but no voice is heard

maybe his voice was heard, but
not one person looks back

maybe someone looked back, but
not many suffer from odd hearing disorders

In this world
falling ill is a great privilege
a great privilege for those who decay, decompose and perish

You say "in this world"
do you mean the world made up of oceans, cities and deserts?

do you mean the world made up of flesh, ideas and semen?
Have you seen a human being?
Have you caressed a human being?

A thermal, perishable substance
covered by porous skin
held erect by a pair of legs

Just whisper "Love"
Humans will instantly dissolve under your eyes
Shout "Justice"

they will instantly perish
It takes no effort to vaporize them
All you need is a bit of pity

There's no need to tread softly over a grave
There won't be bad dreams any more

The whole world is made of flames and ashes
of the parts that are burning, and the parts that have burnt out
It is a relationship among parts

A wholeness is not found inside parts
However many parts are put together, they will not become a whole
Parts and parts are merely a part

I simply assumed "Time" was a linear movement, but
the progression of "Time" is not uniform among its parts
It varies from part to part

Everything is warped
the branch of a pear tree
a snake's tongue

There is not a single human who is sleeping horizontally
a dream in a spherical bed is warped
a death flowing down a spherical canal is warped

A pregnant woman's uterus is warped
Her fetus is warped
"Time" is warped

A green sphere
a sphere locked inside a sphere
constantly reproducing, constantly dying

It is afloat, but not floating
Humans are walking, but they are not moving forward
What is falling is not coming down

It just looks that way in part
It just feels that way in part
We simply know a part in part

When I close my eyes I see that so well
To see things with my eyes means to massacre them
It means to destroy them

Just once would do
I'd love to see things with eyes that are not human
I'd love to feel things

I want to look at things
I want to look at the sky
unaffected by the sightless sculptor "Time"

I've had enough of Einfuhlung or empathy
with a hurt pigeon
with a snake with its head crushed

Rather than empathize with the beautiful dead of our time
be a pigeon covered with soft down
be a snake slithering over summer grass

Be the dead who were born and returned to the earth
If a human offspring stands up on his pair of legs for the first time
if he steps over the doorway, naked, for the first time

he is what flies inside my eyes
he is what sparkles
flying from a rainbow-colored shore toward a dark green space

If a human has eyes
if he has eyes that can truly see things
even if a spherical human screams out something

from a spherical window
from a spherical meridian
he had better not look back

A bird falls from the sky
A field is there
for the single bird shot down when no one was around

A scream comes from a window
The world is there
for the single scream shot to death in a room with no one around

The sky is there for the small bird The small bird falls only from the sky
The window is there for the scream The scream is heard only from the window

I do not know why it is so
I only feel why it is so

For the small bird to fall, there has to be some height
There must be something that is shut tight
for the scream to be heard

Just as there is the small dead bird in the field, death fills my mind
Just as death occupies my mind, no one is at any window in the world

At first
I was looking out of a small window
at half past four
a dog ran past
a cold fury chasing it

(Where did the dog come from,
that skinny dog?
Where did he run off to,
the dog of our times?)
(What blackness is chasing you?
What desire is urging you to run?)

At two o'clock
a pear tree was ripped apart
ants went past dragging a fellow ant's carcass

(So far
what our eyes have seen
always began at its end)
(When we were born
we had long been dead
By the time we hear a scream
only silence remains)

At half past one
a single black bird fell
from an extreme height

(Whose yard is this?
This forsaken yard, so desolate
in the autumn light
Whose is it?)
(You, who are at an extreme height
like a bird looking for prey,
tell me whose yard this is.)

At twelve
with the gaze of one looking into the distance
I looked over the yard

The sky is filled with
wreckage adrift in our times
Even a small bird
must pass through our bitter hearts
to return to its dark nest

The voice came to an end. At dawn
when I heard it in a bird cage
I did not know
what the voice was after.

The image vanished. At dusk
when I saw it in a rescue boat
I did not know
what gave birth to its shadow.

When that voice forms our sky
after flying out of the bird cage,
when its shadow shapes our horizon
by crushing the rescue boat,

My thirst is at the height of the day


there are rooms that have no windows
so in the world of the heart there are windows with no rooms

among the buzz of honey bees
torn things and the skin of a heart
sparkling rain on a summer's day
and dead things

you stand still, in silence
even if your heart, lost
before things took shape,
cries out from the window

my ears do not hear her voice
my eyes listen to her voice

The Best Poem Of Ryuichi Tamura


I should never have learned words
how much better off I'd be
if I lived in a world
where meanings didn't matter,
the world with no words

If beautiful words take revenge against you
it's none of my concern
If quiet meanings make you bleed
it also is none of my concern

The tears in your gentle eyes
the pain that drips from your silent tongue -
I'd simply gaze at them and walk away
if our world had no words

In your tears
is there meaning like the core of a fruit?
In a drop of your blood
is there a shimmering resonance of the evening glow
of this world's sunset?

I should never have learned words
Simply because I know Japanese and bits of a foreign tongue
I stand still inside your tears
I come back alone into your blood

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