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In Borrowed Shoes, Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Press, San Francisco, 2006
Clelia Ifrim, Romania
In the summner of 2010 I wrote Fay Aoyagi to ask her permission to translate some haiku from her book In Borrowed Shoes into Romanian. She agreed and asked me if in Romanian it is possible to keep the 5-7-5 syllables form. I answered her that her haiku sound very beautiful in Romanian in their perfect form of 17 syllables.
Someone could write a screenplay or a filmscript based on Fay's book. In one of her haiku the name of film producer Kurosawa appears as a ”hint of autumn“.
The principal character of this possible script may be “Her shadow on Hiroshima Day. A blind woman.“
Scene: A nightclub where maybe Fay works.
Action: The blind woman enters the nightclub and sits down at a table. A boy who is with her takes off the Astro Boy mask from the festival that has ended. The guardian angel about whom Fay writes in the haiku that opens her book can be seen in the mirror of the nightclub.
Let us remember a very old Oriental reflection: The angels are transparent mirrors.
Sound of the pennies in the tip jar. Or a glass box. Mist. Glasses. Full or empty.
Fay counts in her native language, as she says later in her book. It makes no matter what she counts. The aniverssaries, the “court summons“, the falling leaves, small change, canned soups. She always counts in her native language. Fay goes into the small room at the back of the night club and takes off her shoes. On a table two “split-open chesnut“ burrs. The hint is clear: the thorns of the chesnuts are like a pincushion. The borrowed shoes pinch.
She returns to the nightclub and goes to the table where the blind woman and the boy are setting. They tell her who they are. Fay says nothing but writes this haiku:
I ask myself why
I burned the bridge
The blind woman tells her that all the things are retained in the memory of the sky. Even burnt ones. On the earth they might be erased, they can be lost or forgotten. In the sky they last as long as the sky lasts. She tells more to Fay, that she has the right to ask what she wants. Once in a lifetime she has this privilegie. Fay asks for a bridge.
The blind woman and the boy stand up and leave. Fay follows them. Althought the woman is blind, she knows the way.
a stone bird's eyes
locked in the sky
All this you will find in Fay Aoyagi's book, in haiku form. The end of this possible screenplay might be following: the three persons, Fay, the blind woman, and the boy, stay a moment on a bridge and look at the river. Fay places a pebble in the river current.
A book of love, life and death. A movie of love, life and death. A stone bridge. The three people cross the bridge and go to free the stone bird locked in the sky. At the gate of the sky an angel as a transparent mirror.
Translating into English by Clelia Ifrim and Charles Trumbull