Monday, 4 February 2013

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

    Even though its voice
is in no way uncommon,
    ah, we never do
through all the years get tired
of hearing the cuckoo.

—3 February 2013

Original by [Ki no Tomonori]. Attribution comes from Tomonori's collected poems -- and the combination of highly polished sound and conventional sense is certainly typical for him. (Note, btw, that the celebration gives us the last known date Tomonori was alive: the Second Month of 905.) The congratulatory aspect seems to be the many years, which seems a tenuous allusion to me, but I'm not exactly a fluent native speaker of the cultural traditions. The usual lack of a case marker for the cuckoo makes it possible to read either that it doesn't get tired (of singing) or that the speaker doesn't get tired of it, but the convention of using the POV of someone in the painting suggests understanding the latter. Omitted-but-understood verb: the hearing.


mezurashiki
koe naranaku ni
hototogisu
kokora no toshi o
akazu mo aru kana


---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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