"Cho-ka (Long Poem)"
Flying in the sky, you can see an infinitely elongated line of clouds far away, far above the mountains in a spring day. A bird has a long, long tail; it metamorphoses into the wandering evening star.
Spring snows, never listen to me, fall down to the sky. I close my eyes.
Every day like red shadows of vermillion come in. Every night like seeds of iris domestica. Play with the Moon. Befool the Sun.
The first drop of snow falls without knowing my name. The second drop of snow falls without knowing your name.
Inches of stars cover the sky. A resounding bowstring. Sing my name. Sing your name.
Names turn to be the lights and the pathways in the dark sky.
I throw the nights on the fire. Icy ashes. And to you I write a poem with it.
A resounding bowstring, sparkle stardust. Sing my name. Sing your name.
Constellations― Japanese didn't know of them, they just came from China and the West. We never thought to find any meanings in dispersed stars or connections between them. We are the lonely crowds, our anonymity, our anomie.
Only three of them we recognized as remarkable existences in the old days: the Sun, the Moon, and Venus.
"―Again, this kind of letter."
A postman said to himself and flipped the letter to look at both sides. An address and the name of an addressee were on one side but there was nothing on the other. He went to the place indicated by the address and found the mailbox on the door was sealed with packing tape― The resident rejects any mail or is simply gone. He finds this sort of letter a few times a month in his work.
"Undeliverable" ...he stamped the letter with red ink and threw it into a depository inside of the post office. Those undelivered words lie still inside of the dark room like small and timid animals, abandoned and forgotten without being touched by anyone.
He was tasked with keeping tabs on those letters for disposal. Those letters accumulate while postmen― they are inconspicuous like Mercury― run around the town. Sometimes he disposes of all letters in the depository.
However, he never follows the formal procedures. He secretly carries them out of the post office and drives, his back to the setting sun, glancing at the evening star. Then he will see the Moon and climb up a certain mountain.
When he gets to the top of the mountain, he makes a fire and sits beside it. He takes the letters from his bag and starts to read each of them in the light of the fire.
"I know you'll never reply...," "I'm not sure how many years it’s been since I saw you…,” "I believe that you're still alive somewhere...," "............................................"
Once he finishes reading, he throws the letter on the fire. A thread of smoke rises to the sky. There were stars. Some have names and become parts of the constellations, some never will. An alchemist, he turns smoke into gray clouds. There are some like him among the postmen.
It is a bitterly cold night. Those frozen clouds will snow on the town. Words with nowhere to go fall down to the ground among the people. But they’re too fragile. Once the words touch warm skin, they melt and disappear instantly without ever changing into voices. A zero-degree cry of shiny white lost words.
On snowy days everywhere in the world, people in towns are silenced. No one speaks, overwhelmed by the soundless roar of those words. A grieving work by the alchemists for those disappearing words.
He will keep throwing the letters on the fire as on other nights, until the snows cover every corner of the town―