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Itte kudasi do ka
Dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
He said:
Let living things be born without end
in the waters
Let birds fly without end
in the blue sky over earth

He made
the giant fish
and all the creatures that breed
in the waters
as groups of
              like and like,
and He made
all the winged birds
as groups of
                like and like,
and slowly waved His hand
in blessing
                to the edge of night

Stars fell glittering from His fingers
and from the Milky Way to my small shack
His voice rang out

        Peace on Earth
       Joy to the World

Help me please     I beg you
Even sunset does not want to live
in a forest of bones    in a forest of bones I wander
in search of a bit of blue sky
and I’ve found a bit of a tiny finger
just look! It’s
my sweetheart’s pinky, that she cut off and gave me
and I sucked so small

        He made people
        In the spitting image of Himself
        He blessed human beings and said

        Be fruitful

Through the rivers of Asia
the lakes of Europe
the canals of America
the waterfalls of Africa
human skin
        like cucumber peels

In faceless countries
faceless hands
count out coins damp with blood

        He created
        infinite time and finite time
        infinite space and finite space
        In only seven days
        He completed the whole job,
        And then
        He purified it all

        Peace on Earth
        Joy to the World

I was walking down a big stone street
and my feet gave off a dull light
I asked the way of a man in a ragged hat
and went on and on
but never affived
“You know, back there I asked a man in a tattered jacket
for directions, but couldn’t find the way”
“Oh, that must have been the fellow from the barbershop
next to the fountain, the one who died just like that
of the bug that was going around eight years ago”

My kind informant was,
said the grapevine, the mapmaker
who’d drowned in the river fifty years ago
No, I’m wrong—
One summer all of a sudden
a light 50,000 times brighter than the sun
flashed in the sky and
everyone without exception     in an instant
                        moved to this town.
There are no funerals and flowery wreaths
no voices of children at play
Everyone’s walking like me now
just as they were then
like shadows on water
In this town even the human silhouettes burned into
stone steps take their constitutionals
The whole town’s burned into
one of those black holes the universe has

Maybe I’ll meet you
In that town someday
After all, it's the star
where we were born

Speak please    I beg you
       "You naughty child
         you're dreaming

Editor's Note: Audio recording from Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, 1985