Sans soleil

He wrote me that the Japanese secret
—what Lévi-Strauss had called the poignancy of things—

implied the faculty of communion with things,
of entering into them, of being them for a moment.

It was normal that in their turn they should be like us:
perishable and immortal.

He wrote me:
animism is a familiar notion in Africa,
it is less often applied in Japan.

What then shall we call this diffuse belief, according to
which every fragment of creation has its invisible counterpart?

When they build a factory or a skyscraper,
they begin with a ceremony to appease the god who owns the land.

There is a ceremony for brushes, for abacuses,
and even for rusty needles.

There's one on the 25th of September
for the repose of the soul of broken dolls.

The dolls are piled up in the temple of Kiyomitsu consecrated to Kannon
—the goddess of compassion—and are burned in public.

I look to the participants.
I think the people who saw off the kamikaze pilots
had the same look on their faces.