lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
When he went to the Kasuga Festival, he sent this (after inquiring about her family) to the home of a woman who had come out to watch.

    Like those first grasses
sprouting through the bare patches
    amid the snowfall
upon Kasuga Plain,
so wert thou, ah!, scarcely seen.

—27 November-3 December 2013.

Original by Mibu no Tadamine. After the old-fashioned direct statements of the previous couple of poems, this has a more sophisticated style, using an imagistic preface hinged upon a pivot-word (with the effect of an implied comparion). Exactly what the pivot is, however, is debated: clearly the preface ends with part of hatsuka ni, "scarcely," but it could be either just ha = "leaf/blade" or hatsu = "first." Arguments for the latter point out that "first/young greens" is a common metaphor for youth and beauty, making it even more of a compliment to the woman, and that Kasuga Plain was famous as a place for gathering them (see #17ff). The spring festival at Kasuga Shrine is, for what it's worth, held in the Second Month. The self-consciously archaic final exclamatory particles wa mo, which hadn't been current since the capital was in nearby Nara, warrant for once a bit of forsoothiness.

kasuga-no no
yukima o wakete
kusa no hatsuka ni
mieshi kimi wa mo



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.

December 2014

1415 1617181920

Style Credit

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Page generated Sunday, 22 October 2017 19:16

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags