It's been two weeks! Here's a quick translation of a poem called Gaitō 街頭 ("Street"), by Susukida Kyūkin 薄田泣菫. I like this for its almost sestina-ish cycling imagery, its unusual (for Kyūkin) device of ellipsis, and of course because it features a kokyū. The original is basically in 5/7 meter, but I haven't made any attempt to reproduce that here.

A thoroughfare — the sun wells up with tears...
At the beggar-child's kokyū, its scraping,
Sobbing sound... from somewhere,
The faint scent of roasted chestnuts...

Coming and going, the people turn and —
"Ha!" — laugh... the kokyū's lament...
A cloud of dust swirls suddenly,
Flames roll off the chestnuts as they sweat.

The charred nuts, thickly smoking,
Burst open... ah, this hunger!
The chestnut-peddler sneezes,
Her face twisting... the kokyū's weakening...

Coins fall — ah, the kokyū player
Smiles, and proudly
Fills his mouth with chestnut, and he speaks,
A sense of straining at his temples...
The chestnut girl is deaf.

That "beggar-child" is in the original 乞食児, with the furigana かたゐこ. Kata(w)i or kattai is an old Japanese word for "beggar", so old that it has a range of related meanings, like "traveling musician" and even "leper", all deriving from the basic meaning of being poor and reliant on the charity of others.

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