Since this is the celebrated hundredth article and the fiftieth book, I happened to find a impressive book at the bottom of my shelf while thinking who I should choose for this time. It might be seven years ago that I heard her lecture. At that time it’s about Poetry and Life written with Yasuhiro Yotsumoto and I do remember it was so much impressive. Masayo Koike is one of my favourite poets indeed.
I’ll quote a passage from “Like a mandarin orange”.
One mandarin orange,
Without something like that
We always live.
Tender is foreignness,
A ragged, unfamiliar chunk,
A gift, from far, dropped on the lonely spot.
I put my fingers into a deep pocket
To touch a mandarin orange, timidly.
This is for those who like a mandarin orange indeed. Akutagawa also wrote a short story of a mandarin orange as well. Is it quite particular to Japanese since I can’t find it is used as a motif in literary works in other countries (at any rate in European literature, because of their cultural background, “an apple” is primary one). The poem begins with description showing “he” puts a mandarin orange into my pocket when leaving the room. The narrator realises that is his tenderness which we lack. She might think it “foreignness” due to his sudden tenderness. And this might be the parting poem that we can tell his tenderness, the weight of a mandarin orange, is not to be given again.
Furthermore, in another poem “Fruit”, the fruit offers another motif.
Peel doesn’t tell
Its inside full of incidents
Cool morning of the inside flesh
If you peeled it
One says it should be rotted
I tastes it which is fully ripen
Which is like a laugh when eating
Something essential is the inside flesh which is recognised as a secret not easily revealed. Spilling out the inside is just a moment — so that it tastes sweet beyond description when you catch the moment and eat. Nobody doesn’t leave his inside opened as it would be getting “rotted”.