Sunday, February 23, 2020

Shiki's Journey

“today’s so warm
   I should clean your room?”
      “aye, OK Mum”

she lays a bed out
   in the living room
      “through you go son”

on all fours
   those few yards
      are 5,000 miles

my left leg’s limp
   from pain
      so I put a foot-

pillow under
   my knee and drag
      my body bit-

by bit over
   the dangerous floor
      without any trouble

let myself down
   on the futon
      feet to the sliding

door and garden
   head pillowed north
      now Mum’s in

a dwam standing
   broom in hand
      mumbling “is

that the crowd
   I hear at the 
      athletics in Ueno?”

Alec Finlay

This poem is after Shiki, My Illness, from an original translation by Masako Hira. His prose was an affecting account of the difficult journey, from one room to another, contrasting his own pain with his mother's dreamy mood. Shiki is speaking to use from the Land of Counterpane.

These posts are published as part of a year-long artist in residence, funded by Paths for All.

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