Memories of West Sugamo

Sugawara Katsumi

(translated by Arthur Binard)

Long ago
We lived in West Sugamo
Downstairs your great-eyed mother
and elder sister
Upstairs you and I
And all the laundry hung up to dry.
When streamers went up around Tenso
The vendors sold pinwheels and rice
marzipan ...
Now and then a shower would pass
over on a sunny day.

Long ago
We lived in West Sugamo
Where a field lay beside a great
Of course,he didn't come straight
from there
But once a month a plainclothesman
would come.
I was marked A MAN TO BE AVOIDED
And so had no job,no friends,
But a clock that played a song of
A low desk for adining table
Two bright patterned cushions
Nothing else but you
Who went off to work early each