(A Golden Shovel)
Young men march away–
the mountain greenness
is at its peak
Santoka Taneda (1882-1940; tr. John Stevens)
Crowds walk down the narrow road, young
mothers and their children, hand-in-hand. Men
stay behind, prepare to march,
armed, into the capital while their families take away
valises, toys across the border into the
neighboring country, on the other side of the mountain.
The soldiers believe they are camouflaged in greenness.
The valley they descend into is
full of stones and mud. At
the river the phalanx advances towards its
target, into artillery at the battle’s peak.