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 Shrine 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 prison. 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, nothing But a clock that played a song of seafarers A low desk for adining table Two bright patterned cushions Nothing else but you Who went off to work early each morning.