Kokinshu #472

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 07:05
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    Yet even for ships
that travel without a trace
    into the white waves,
the very winds are, I know,
bringing word of where to go.

—17-19 November 2013

Original by Fujiwara no Kachion. On the literal level, winds guide ocean-going ships into port -- however winds can also be, and in poetry often are, a symbol for rumors about one's beloved, a sense here reinforced with a pun: tayori can mean "tidings" as well as "reliance." Even ships get this help, but the speaker, it's implied, has heard nothing. (Contrast with #13, where the winds are a literal guide/messenger.)


shiranami no
ato naki kata ni
yuku fune mo
kaze zo tayori no
shirube narikeru


---L.

About

Warning: contents contain line-breaks.

As language practice, I was translating classical Japanese poetry -- most recently, book 11 (love part 1) of the Kokinshu anthology. This project is, however, on hiatus. Past translations are archived here. Suggestions, corrections, and questions always welcome.

There's also original pomes in the journal archives.

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