Poetry by Toshiya Sasaki -January 1998

Going to the Station

A warm Monday morning in November,
I make my way to the station.
Many people overtake me, hurring past,
At an intersection, a pedestrian light is flashing.
Everyone hastely rushes forward to beat the lights.
What eagerness!
Or is it just out of habit?
It's not as if I have much time to spare but,
I wait, letting the light turn red.
I stand on this side of the road, waiting for some moments.
Cars go racing, and I just
Watch them.

You're always so serious."
What's more, you give out the impression that you're very proud."
You should be more ambitious."
You should take it easy."
What is it you're really deep inside?"
Such things I have been told in the past.
Actually quite recently, too.

But these days, I no longer
Refuse any of these statements.
I don't apologise anymore.
Is that good or bad?
The light turns to green.
Again, people rush to cross the road.
As for me, as long as the train isn't delayed,
Through accidents or breakdowns,
I will reach my workplace as usual,
Ten minutes before the start of work.   

Sitting on the Rooftop Tired from work, I go out onto the rooftop. Today is such a nice day, I sigh. A gentle rays of the afternoon sunlight already point towards the north. Even so, the air is still quite warm. A while ago, I came out on the rooftop on a cloudy day. A flock of crows were perched here. For some reason, their presence was irritating. I picked up some gravel, And threw it at them. The crows seemed slightly surprised but, They made no attempt to fly away, As though they were mocking me, so irritation mounting, I hurled more gravel, Again and again. At last, those pesky crows flew away, Leaving me to be alone. With my irritation. On a building opposite me, elevators, Busily go up and down. Moving up and down like the beads of an abucus. And look at that, what a strange shaped building Constructed for some unfathomable purpose. Coming out on the rooftops, I notice it for the first time. Didn't see it during the morning or evening commute, Or when I was walking down on the ground. My day to day routine sees no change, My day to day life sees no change. But, the city keeps, Changing. No, maybe unknown to me, my life is changing gradually. But I just haven't noticed. Looking down, I see the insignificant black dots of people, Resembling the black seeds of a watermelon. Walking left to right, right to left. As for me, here I am, watching them, Alone on the rooftop, Feeling secretly somewhat superior. Even though, at the same time, I am thinking to myself, How many more minutes before I have to go back into the crowd?" Suddenly I notice, on the opposite rooftop, A young man in a suit, Daydreaming. He doesn't seem to have noticed me. What is he thinking? Maybe he's not thinking of anything. For some reason, he looks really ridiculous. But on the other hand, maybe, Somebody is watching me, daydreaming, And is thinking, What a riduculous person!" At the end of the day, who cares? Right, time to go back to work.

Downtown Downtown, the buildings overwhelm The narrow, rambling streets, engulfing them. Stepping out from a sidestreet, cars with a vengeance, go zooming past. An old woman, cluthing a railcoat comes out of a house, In front of which stands a flowerpot, With pink and purple flowers growing in it. A shaaby, run-of-the-mill tofu shop, The eaves of the roof are dark and quiet. A small restaurant has piled its chairs outside, Beyond the premises to bask in the sun. A birdcage hangs from the eaves, in which, A yellow canary, from time to time cheeps. A young girl, short skirt fluttering, Furiously pedals past on her bicycle. Followed immediately by a man in a grey suit, Who is pedalling just as furiously on his bicycle, overtaking me. Two or three plastic bags stuffed with Tons of empty cans, are piled up in front of the telegraph poles. A garbage truck heads this way. As for me, I stand there for a while just looking. The sun shines, heating up The coldness of the morning air. A narrow street. A peaceful, mundane environment. Between the apartment buildings, one espies, A glimpse of the blue sky.


Mr. Sasaki was born in Tokyo in 1963. He has an MA in Russian literature. The title of his thesis was: The works of Valdimir Nabokov. He worked in London for the Shaftsbery Society and is currently working for a financial magazine. He has authored two books of poetry: Town in the Rain 1987 Metamorphosis 1996

For Wang Ying; Born in Beijin in 1971. Went to Tokyo in 1993 to study making cloths and the fashion buisiness. She currently works as an assistant designer at a company in Tokyo, that deals with various cloths. The original Japanese poems were translated into English by Mina Shibahara.
The biographical sketch of Miss. Shibahara is; Born in London in 1970. Is now the headmaster of Green Top English School, Tokyo, and is a maincaster of one of the English teaching program of PerfecTV, a satelite TV broadcasting.

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