04 April 2008

Two Poems about Mud

The following excerpts of two poems are from Songs from the Slums by Toyohiko Kawaga. In the early decades of the 1900’s, as a young man, Kawaga lived in the slums of Tokyo, Japan.

I've included them to help illustrate my story that follows. Enjoy.


I stumble

As I feel my way

Along the muddy paths.

The streets

Are sloughs of slime

After the rain –

Rutted with wheel-tracks;

Ploughed with wooden shoes;

Strewn with the skins

Of oranges.

Through the mire

Wade ragged boys and girls.

The muddy pools

Mirror the wretched shops.

Clop, clop,

My clogs

Go stumbling

Through the slop.


Cast-off clogs,

And broken sandals,

And foul, reeking mud

Make one great compost-heap…


I know that vile things

Jump, and crawl, and leap…

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