Kiji Kutani is a 23 year old Japanese poet. The following poem was written when he was a high school student. To listen to him read click here.
The fading day lingers on,
caught in a whirlpool with rifts in the grain.
From the tips of my toes
my whole body
burns with cold.
And the fading day lingers on.
A long beam of the setting sun shifts,
touching rough frost
frozen deep in my core.
As I bend down
to peer at its swaying orange edge
a sheet of brand-new
scrap paper enters my view —
even the unnecessary rip
left after I’d scribbled all over it:
emptiness engrained in the weft
of brand-new scrap
Some people, it is said,
see God when they close their eyes.
Once I had a friend
who told me he saw
a field of green foxtail, shoulder-high
stretching far into the distance
I’m ashamed to say that I myself
see nothing at all.
if it’s a matter of surrendering oneself completely
I too yield my whole,