Ishigaki Rin--Japanese

 

Ishigaki Rin
(1920-2005)

 

Ishigaki Rin first became known as the “bank clerk poet.”  Born in 1920, in Tokyo, Rin worked as a bank clerk for nearly four decades.  She was active as a trade unionist throughout this time.  She produced four major collection of poetry between 1959 and 1984, and was recipient of a number of prestigious literary prizes including the Tumura Toshiko Prize.  In addition to poetry, Rin also produced several volumes of essays.  Rin’s poetry is known for its honesty, and for her ability to tackle huge issues, such as war and conflict, and domestic concerns.  Ishigaki Rin died in 2004.


In the Stomachs of One Hundred People

On the tables, one hundred plates,
before them, one hundred people,
on the plates, one hundred flounders;
as the tableware clinks, tinkles,
the fish are reduced to a few bones, heads, and tails.
(What would the Princess of the Deep say to see this!)

The one hundred ladies and gentlemen
wipe their lips with white napkins, and talk elegantly:
"You know, the whole world is a mess now."