Words for Women – Murō Saisei (trans. Jason Morgan)

Words for Women
by Murō Saisei
(「女人に対する言葉」 室生犀星)

Love us,
kiss us,
do all that you can for us,
grow to like cleaning,
keep the house tidy,
fix something good to eat,
overcome hardship,
keep your heart warm for us,
do it all gracefully;
be exceptionally, unmistakably, fundamentally womanly.
Don’t lose your cool.
Try to grow to good mothers;
let the neighbors’ kids come to you;
give alms to beggars
                                        a bit at a time.

Don’t skimp on prayers in the morning and evening,
don’t ever think that you’re better than others.
You’ll become great just by being yourself,
even if you yourself aren’t even trying to—
the world around you will take up the task for you.

Look on your husband as some kind of god.
Partake of your husband’s knowledge like pabulum.
Read some of your husband’s books on occasion.
Clean off the table,
light up the hibachi,
keep water heated in the iron kettle;
straighten the tea, the tea things and the cigarettes,
o, fill all these things to the brim with your warmth.
Do not hold grudges,
don’t show us your bitter tears.
Ahh, you must work hard, you must never rest.

If you do all of this, have you any idea
how happy a family you’ll stand at the center of;

can you guess by what measure you’ll make the world better?

All of the world goes dark when you’re not happy;
the first and the foremost of life all go dim.
Make it all bright,
                                        make it all really shine.

This is what I have been trying to say to you.
Read, then, and taste of it—
these are the words of the whole of humanity.
I send these words out to all of you now.


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