Offcourse Literary Journal

Poems by Mariko Sumikura. Translated from the Japanese by Michael Finkenthal in collaboration with the poet.


Name on a perfume bottle
A poem in a word
Two words make it a drama

Month of May!
Green outside
Alone I play with little bottles
To kill time

Requête, Mon Ame, L'Air du Temps
Soir de fête, Imprudence, Magie
Près du coeur, Moment Suprême, Je reviens

Sealing one's passion into words.
Is this a vice? If so
I shall accept my punishment
And carry out the verdict: Forget!


A drop of dew.
I see the essence of life
As the world is reflected
In this drop of dew which sits quietly
At the tip of the narrow leaf

Closed upon yourself
You have no doubt about
Your spherical shape
Drop of dew

You split the sunlight
Into seven colours
Of sparkling droplets
Always wary of falling off
But I will not touch you
Transparent as you are
You do not offend my eye.

I will not touch you
Gift given to the poor
Drop of dew
Sweet as the hope to find
The truth of our lives.
A round gap between dream and the real.

Dream within a dream
Memories fading away

Salty tears roll one after the other
But you cannot afford it
You are alone

Allow me to kiss you again
Dew drop
So I will have the strength
To carry on another day


Impure — just a bit
Your salty tears
Make dancing blue flickers
Hit the silky mud

Yet who knows your secret?
You turn red when seen
In bright sun light
And cold blue-green
In the muddy dark

Yet who knows the secret
Of your red?


Mariko Sumikura was born, lives and writes in Kyoto. She is the descendant of a very old family with roots in that city going back to medieval times. She studied English Literature at Ritsumeikan University. She also has interests in French Literature and modern Western philosophy.

Michael Finkenthal is a physicist who lives in Israel and in Baltimore, MD.


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