Flood

Miyazawa Kenji
Under the malicious glints of the clouds
the Kitakami, grown twice in width, perhaps ten times in volume,
bears yellow waves.
All the iron barges are being tugged to the army camp.
A motorboat sputters.
The water flowing back from downstream
has already turned into marshes
the paddies on the dried riverbed,
hidden the bean fields,
and devastated half the mulberries.
Gleaming like a snail's trail
it has made an island of the grass patch under the pines
and of the Chinese cabbage fields.
When and how they got there I don’t know
but on the warm frightening beach
several dark figures stand, afloat.
One holds a fishnet.
I recognize Hosuke in leggings.
Has the water already
robbed us of our autumn food?
I climb the roof to look.
I hauled the manure bundles to a high place.
As for the plows and baskets
I went in the water a few minutes ago, up to my waist,
and managed to retrieve them. 

                                        (8/15/1927)

From Miyazawa Kenji: Selections, edited and with an introduction by Hiroaki Sato. Copyright © 2007 by Miyazawa Kenji. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Miyazawa Kenji