Saturday, 19 October 2013

Kokinshu #460

Saturday, 19 October 2013 07:27
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Kamiya River (Kamiyagawa)

    Is my hair as black
as leopard-lily seeds
    changing its color?
This white snow falling upon
the reflection in the mirror ...

—13 October 2013

Original by Ki no Tsurayuki. The Kamiya ("papermaker") is a stream flowing south through the imperial palace grounds into the Kamo. Decorative language: "of/as leopard-lily seeds" is here a stock epithet for black things, plus there's an overtone from a double-meaning of furu meaning "to age" as well as "to fall." The second half is a grammatical fragment, in effect a declarative noun, the effect of which is probably more emphatic than I've rendered it. Compare #8.


ubatama no
wa ga kurokami ya
kawaruramu
kagami no kage ni
fureru shirayuki


---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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