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Night on the Milky Way Train_Ch 9_2

Night on the Milky Way Train_Ch 9_2

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Published by mr-norman
Kenji Miyazawa in the 20s wrote this rich brief masterpiece during his rich brief life that is only recently becoming appreciated.Ch. 9_2
Kenji Miyazawa in the 20s wrote this rich brief masterpiece during his rich brief life that is only recently becoming appreciated.Ch. 9_2

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Published by: mr-norman on Jun 08, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The river divided in two. A turret as high as the sky had been erected on theisland at its fork, and on top of it perched a man in a red cap and looselyfitting clothes. He was looking toward the sky and signaling with red andgreen flags in his hands.He waved the red flag repeatedly in the air then suddenly brought it down,hid it behind his back and lifted the green one as high as he could, waving itfuriously, like an orchestra conductor. At that very moment an unbelievableclamour filled the air as if it had suddenly started raining cats and dogs, andwhole clusters of little black birds shot, as if out of the mouth a shotgun,across the sky to the far side of the river. Giovanni found himself stickinghalf his body out the window to get a good look at the tens of thousands of little birds as they flew, each and every one calling through the magnificentdark violet sky.'Just look at those birds fly,' he said from outside the window.'Birds?' said Campanella, looking up.The man in the loose outfit on top of the turret suddenly raised his red flagand waved it madly. At that moment the great cloud of birds froze, anearsplitting crash was heard downstream, and it was perfectly quiet. Yet nosooner was there quiet than did the red-capped signaller once again wave hisgreen flag, yelling out in a voice as clear as a bell...'Now is the time for all migratory birds to migrate! Now is the time for allmigratory birds to migrate!'And once again the great mass of countless birds shot overhead. Kaorupoked her head out of the same middle window as the two boys, facingupwards with lovely sparkling cheeks.'Oh, so many birds!' she said to Giovanni. 'And the sky is so pretty too!'But Giovanni turned a deaf ear to Kaoru, keeping his mouth shut,considering her no more than a big pain in the neck and continuing to look up at the sky.Kaoru took a faint breath, fell silent and returned to her seat. Campanella,feeling sorry for her, drew his head back inside and concentrated on hismap.'Is that man there to teach the birds?' she asked Campanella softly.
'He's there giving signals to migrating birds,' he replied, unsure of himself. 'Imean, a flare rockets up or something, telling him to do it.'Silence filled the wagon. Giovanni wanted to bring his head in from thewindow, but the bright light inside would be too hard to bear, so heremained as he was and whistled a tune.Why am I so forlorn? I should be a kinder person, a moregenerous person. I can see a small blue flame, hazy with smoke,way beyond. It is so quiet and cold, but it calms my spirit if Ikeep my mind on it.Giovanni, gazing in the distance, grasped his burning, throbbing head in bothhands.Is there really nobody who will stick with me to the edges of the universe and beyond? Campanella just sits there jabberingaway to that little girl, and it hurts me more than anybodyknows.Giovanni's eyes filled with tears, making the Milky Way seem even moreremote and dreamy white.By this time the train had veered away from the river, passing above a cliff.The black cliff face by the waterline on the opposite bank loomed graduallyhigher and higher at the lower reaches of the river. A huge stand of cornflashed into view, with leaves that were all frizzled and curly and husks thatwere big and already a striking green, sprouting red hairs and boastingkernels like pearls.Soon the number of plants had multiplied until the stand, with plants inrows, lined the area between the cliff and the track. When Giovanni pulledhis head in and looked through the windows across the aisle he saw ears of corn swaying in the breeze, growing all the way to the horizon, laden withred and green dewdrops on the tips of their curly leaves, shining likediamonds that had absorbed the rays of the sun.'That's corn, isn't it?' said Campanella to Giovanni.But Giovanni wasn't in a mood to be cheered up and sat there gazing at thefield with a moony face.'Guess so,' he answered.That's when the train slowed down, passed by a few signals and illuminatedswitches and came to a halt at a little station.The milky-white clock face opposite them indicated precisely the SecondHour, the wind died down, the train was still and a pendulum ticktocked the
time throughout the still quiet country.Then a faint melody, perfectly in time with the ticking of the clock, cametheir way, a thread of sound from the far fringes of the field.'It's the New World Symphony,' said Kaoru to herself.All the people in the train, including the stately young man in black, wereplunged into a tender dream of their own creation.Why can't I cheer myself up in such a peaceful place as this?Why am I so alone? And that Campanella, he's really beingmean. We're on this train together and all he does is blabber tothat little girl. It's really hard to take!Giovanni, his face half-buried in his palms, stared out the far windows.A flutelike note, clear as glass, rang out and the train began to creep along asCampanella sadly whistled the tune of the rotating stars.'Precisely, precisely, you see, it's all high prairie up here,' blurted out an oldman from behind, as if he had just woken up. 'Now, if it's corn you want, yougotta open up a hole two feet deep and plant the seed in that, otherwise youhaven't got a prayer.''Is that right? I guess we won't be reaching the river for quite some time yet.''Precisely, precisely. We're still a good two thousand to six thousand feetabove her. We're over one hell of a gorge here.'Giovanni was struck by a thought...Sure, we're over the plateaus of Colorado!Kaoru, far away in thought, her face like an apple wrapped in silk, was staringin the same direction as Giovanni. Campanella was still whistling sadly tohimself.All of a sudden the corn was gone, leaving a vast black stretch of prairiefrom one horizon to the other.The New World Symphony was coming in loud and clear from beyond thehorizon when an American Indian, an arrow fixed in his taut bow, deckedout in a white feather headdress and a variety of stones on his arms andbreast, st arted running after the train as fast as his mocassins would takehim.'Gosh, it's an Indian!' cried Tadashi. 'Look, an Indian!'

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