Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Kokinshu #354

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 07:14
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
(for the same celebration)

    The ten-thousand years
I lie down and ponder,
    I get up and count --
the gods indeed surely know:
they're destined for my lord.

—20 January 2013

(Original by Sosei.) Sosei ups the stakes -- no more of this mere thousand, or even eight-thousand, stuff. Such a period was generally understood as not even indefinitely long but closer to near-infinite. The first half is built around a neat structural antithesis, and the "my" part of "my lord" is, for once, explicit. Grammatical ambiguity: is the speaker contemplating the 10,000 years or contemplating for 10,000 years? While the former makes more literal sense, the latter also works as hyperbolic flattery. Omitted-but-understood verb: "are."

fushite omoi
okite kazouru
yorozuyo wa
kami zo shiruramu
waga kimi no tame



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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