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lnhammer ([personal profile] lnhammer) wrote2013-12-06 07:11 am

Kokinshu #478

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