Artwork by Mugi Takei

Mina gave a birth to

a classroom

 

Yoko Inoue

Translation (1) by Mugi Takei

One day,
Mina
gave a birth to a classroom
Mina
noticed the classroom
the woman nextdoor gave
a birth to
annoyed her

 

One night,
Mina
began to compare
the classroom
her own
to the classroom
woman next door's
then
Mina
began to be
sure
the world and the universe
are comparing her classroom to
the woman next door's

 

Mina
many times a day
sneaks
peeks at the woman
next door's classroom
each time she does
she sees the woman
next door's classroom
better than hers

 

Mina
punished her classroom
she killed it
Mina dug a hole
in the ground
and buried the classroom
she killed it

 

Next day,
she dug it out
the dead classroom
and she buried it again
some place else
after she gazed at it

 

Next day,
she dug it out
and she buried it
again
some place else
the classroom she killed
while she was gazing
at it

 

One day
finally
Mina sold her dead
classroom
to a "Dead Classroom Specialty Shop"
at a penny
or two

 

In no time
the shop owner called her
and said
"Your classroom is out of control.
You have to come get it."
Mina
returned to the shop
not knowing what

 

"Your classroom is
still alive. This is
a fraud!"
the shop owner accused
angrily

 

Well, indeed

 

Inside of
the supposedly dead
classroom, there were
bright red poppies
blooming
the poppies
crawling out
of Mina's classroom
spreading all over the
shop

 

Then the memory Mina had forgotten
came back
she
as a child nibbled poppy seeds
in her father's room
Mina
apologized the shop owner
briefly
picked the classroom and
walked out
of the shop
when
she reached
a bridge
she threw the poppy covered
classroom
into a river

 

The classroom and
the bright red poppies
floated down the river
away from Mina
after
a little while
Mina gave a birth
to another classroom

Classroom

 

Yoko Inoue

Translation (2) by Alex Jones

One day,
Mina gave birth to a classroom.
Then,
She realised that the classroom of the woman next door was starting to bother her.
One night,
She started to compare her classroom with the woman next door's,
And in doing so,
Mina began to feel sure that,
Everyone,
Everything,
Was comparing these two classrooms.
Mina went again and again to gaze at the classroom of the woman next door,
And each time she went,
She saw more and more how it was far better than her own.
Mina decided to punish her classroom, and killed it.
She dug a hole in the earth, and buried it.
The next day,
She dug it up, looked at it, then buried it in another place.
The day after that,
She dug it up again, looked at it, then buried it in another place.
Finally, one day,
She took her dead classroom to the local "Dead Classroom Dealer" and sold it for a song.
After a while the owner of the shop called her.
He said, "I can't handle that classroom you sold me, so come and pick it up!"
Mina went down to the shop, wondering what on earth was the matter.
The owner fumed, "Your classroom is still alive! Are you trying to rip me off?!"
Because there, in the classroom that was supposed to be dead, was a host of bright red poppies.
They had crept out of Mina's classroom and were starting to spread all over the shop.
Then, Mina remembered something she had never done.
She is a little girl in her father's room, and puts a poppy seed in her mouth.
Mina apologised to the shop owner and took away her classroom,
But when she came to a bridge, she threw the classroom, still covered with poppies, straight into the river.
The classroom and the bright red poppies floated down the river and far, far away from Mina.
After a little while,
Mina gave birth to her second classroom.

 

You can read all the poems of Classroom on our old website:

Poem Collection "Classroom"
1. Mina gave a birth to a classroom | Classroom 2. Half of Me 3. Paradise 4. Meteorite | a meteorite 5. Two Sisters | the two sisters

 

Yoko Inoue

She was born in Shizuoka prefecture, and now lives in Tokyo.

She often played at the beach of her hometown in Enshunada. She was a TV kid in her childhood. She said that it is that kid, myself whom now I'd like to meet the best.

Her poems, photos, paintings and diary are available on her website, and also you can read her poem on Fragments (#27).

Her first poetry book "Permanent garden" was published in 2005.

*This biography was written at the time when the poem was published on Happano. (October 2006)

 

Mugi Takei

Mugi Takei (Mugi Salaverry-Takei) was born in New York and currently lives and works in Northern California. From 2010 to 2013, she was addicted to cross-country road trips and has traveled across the country multiple times in her small Toyota.  In 2015, she gave a birth to a baby girl. She is expecting a baby boy in 2021. Intrigued by folklore, folk art, everyday life, and dreams, Takei continues to make artwork mainly around the deep connection between women and nature. Her work includes paintings, drawings, stop motion animation, and poetry.

Mugi Takei official website

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is a Japanese > English translator living in Tokyo.  He was born in Bermuda and moved to the U.K. when he was thirteen.  He has translated several poems for Happano: "Dawn Cafe Au Leit"and "At the Mountain" by Sansei Yamao, "Rainy Day" and "Letter" by Chidori Tanaka (Fragments #5), and "The little mark on my cheek".

*This biography was written at the time when the poem was published on Happano. (October 2006)