Sunday, 21 July 2013

Kokinshu #423

Sunday, 21 July 2013 07:09
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Lesser cuckoo (hototogisu)

    Is it because we're
weary of waiting for the time
    when it should have come,
that hearing this voice calling
makes us cry out as well?

—3 July 2013

(Original by Fujiwara no Toshiyuki.) Another old friend, this one from summer. The answer to the implicit riddle is clear but what, exactly, is being asked is not, as it's ambiguous who is waiting for whom and who cries. It seems more likely to be people waiting for the topical bird (a traditional occupation, according to the start of book III), but that it's the bird waiting for its mate has also been proposed as a grammatically less strained reading.


kubeki hodo
toki suginure ya
machiwabite
nakunaru koe no
hito o toyomuru


---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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