Friday, 13 September 2013

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Yamashi

    O cuckoo,
did you mingle with the clouds
    of the mountain peaks?
Though I hear you are present,
I cannot even glimpse you.

—25 August 2013

Original by Taira no Atsuyuki, a great-grandson of Emperor Kôkô who had a career as a middling courtier between 893 and his death in 910. He has this one poem in the Kokinshu ¶ We know that the yamashi is a small purple lily also sometimes called hanasuge ("flower-sedge"), but not what it's called now. The level of not-knowing, however, apparently is not as high as for the three mysterious plants. Its seasonality is uncertain, and the poem itself is clearly summer -- and indeed, around here, the chronological progression starts getting rather muddled.


hototogisu
mine no kumo ni ya
majirinishi
ari to wa kikedo
miru yoshi mo naki


---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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