Kokinshu #477

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 07:10
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
Reply.

    Knowing, not knowing --
why do you uselessly speak
    of distinguishing this?
It is love, and only love,
that can act as your guide.

—25 November 2013

Original by an unknown woman. So decoding the poetic persiflage, Narihira essentially asked, "Will I be able see you?" and she replied, "Why worry about seeing? If you really love me, you'd find a way for us to meet!" This is about as direct a come-on as you'll find in classical Japanese. Some commentaries claim that the hi, "fire," of omo(h)i, "feelings" here rendered as "love," suggests a torch lighting the way -- and maybe it would to someone steeped in the tradition of the time.

(One of these days I'll have to decide whether, when romanizing, to always treat the inflection of a nari-adjective as a suffix or, as for their modern Japanese descendents, a separate particle. For, yanno, consistancy's sake.)


shiru shiranu
nani ka aya naku
wakite iwamu
omoi nomi koso
shirube narikere


---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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