A Law of the Universe

I’m patting my dog’s head

over and over.

Something amazing is happening.

I am becoming happier and happier.

.(1988)

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.
FROM CHAPTER ONE, BEFORE MEETING

 

宇宙の法則

犬の頭をなでる

コロコロと なでる

なぜか 自分が うれしくなってくる

すごいことが おきている

(1988)

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

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I won’t cry

My funeral
A friend’s funeral

Not to cry after a death
with unexpressed gratitude

I will face them now
with “arigato.”

Note: arigato is an expression of thanks or gratitude in Japanese.

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.
FROM CHAPTER ONE, BEFORE MEETING

 

(Original Japanese poem)

私は泣かない

自分の葬式
他人の葬式

死んでから
鳴いて感謝するよりも

向かい合った「ありがとう」を
私は選ぶ

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

Cinderella’s Carriage

Midnight parties are
sheer sadness

The taxi in front of me is
a mere pumpkin

Oh, pumkin, pumpkin

You are white tonight

(1990)

Note: In Japan, taxis come in a variety of colors: black, white, green, yellow, blue, etc.

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.
FROM CHAPTER ONE, BEFORE MEETING

 

 

シンデレラの馬車

真夜中の宴会は
ただの かなしみ

目の前のタクシーは
ただの かぼちゃ

かほちゃよ かぼちゃ

今日のは 白いな

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

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Vacant

Ah!
How vacant it is

Wonderously vacant
Incessently vacant

But, my heart,
That’s OK

It’s a blessing
And indeed better

For just a litte longer
Stay this way and behave

(1988)

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.
From chapter one, before meeting

 

(Original Japanese poem)

空き部屋

まあ
なんて からっぽ

みごとに からっぽ
ずっと からっぽ

でも
それでいいの 私のこころよ

それが なにより
ほんとに なにより

今しばらくは
そこでおとなしく しておいで

 

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

 

Solitude

On the days I can approach people,
Everyone seems beautiful.
The air sparkles.

I don’t understand myself.
Why have I held onto this solitude?

(1987)

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.

From the chapter one, before meeting

 

 

(ORIGINAL JAPANESE POEM)

勇気の孤独

自分から 人に
話しかけることができた日は
どんな人も  美しく思える
大気が きらめいて見える

どうしたものか 自分よ
何もそこまで 孤独になるな

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

A Letter to the Stars

To the countless stars in the sky,

Does being round
make it easier for you
to travel through the universe?

Or, while on your travels,
did the universe beat you,
making you rounder and rounder?

Or, is it the space between us
that simply makes you appear round?

Is keeping a good distance your secret?

 (1985)

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE POETRY BOOK ON LOVE
OTOHIME KARA URASHIMA TARO NI TSUGU BY NAOMI OTSUBO.
From chapter one, before meeting

 

(Original Japanese poEm)

お星さまへ

天空にまします数々のお星さま

丸ければ
宇宙で うまくまわっていられますか?

それとも
まわっているうちに
あの手この手で 宇宙が
丸くしにかかってくるんですか

それとも
何でもかんでも
遠くにおいてしまえば
丸く見えてくるもんですか?

つまり
距離をおくってことですね

恋愛詩集「乙姫から浦島太郎に告ぐ」第1章出会い前 より

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Upcoming Book Release

book_otohime_coverWe are excited to announce our next book. This will be a paperback of 101 poems by Naomi. The book is in Japanese and is illustrated. It will go on sale by the end of September. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Translations: Bates International Poetry Festival, 2011

translations_2011_cover_webTranslations: Bates International Poetry Festival 2011 documents this creative event featuring eight poets from around the world: Polina Barskova (Russia), Rhea Côté Robbins and Robert Farnsworth (United States), Francisca López (Spain), Naomi Otsubo (Japan), Danny Plourde (Canada), Carmen Elisabeth Puchianu (Romania), and Miguel Ángel Zapata (Peru). These poets spent five days performing their poetry in their native language and interacting with students and faculty on translations of their work. Contained in this volume are the original poems and the translations that came from this collaboration. Essays on the meaning of festivals, insights into translations, translation in pedagogy, and reflections on multilingualism from Enrique Yepes, Jane Costlow, Sarah Strong, Claudia Aburto Guzmán, Laura Balladur, Francisca López, and Raluca Cernahoschi round out this fascinating volume.

Use the following link to go to the Apple iBookstore: Translations – Claudia Aburto Guzmán & William Ash