Monday, 21 January 2013

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
(for the same celebration)

    Although I don't know
whether or not it existed
    in an ancient time,
the custom of a thousand
years shall begin with my lord.

—20 January 2013

Original by Sosei. (Okay, back in the saddle -- even if it isn't the best translation in the world, time to move on.) Omitted word: "living" for those thousand years, which I left understood. Technically, the "whether or not" has mixed tenses, with the positive part conjugated in a past tense and the negative in the present, giving the poem an interesting past/present/future construction; a literally rendering sounds very odd in English, however, and the phrase in any case the idiom was understood as entirely past.


inishie ni
ariki arazu-ba
shiranedomo
chitose no tameshi
kimi ni hajimemu


---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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