Friday, 25 January 2013

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written for Fujiwara no Miyoshi's sixtieth birthday celebration.

    Though we don't know what
comes after the thousand years
    of cranes and turtles,
I would that you entrust yours
to an unsatisfied heart.

Some people also say this poem is by Ariwara no Tokiharu.

—20 January 2013

Original by Ariwara no Shigeharu. Shigeharu (dates unknown) was the second son of Ariwara no Narihira (see #53) and younger brother of Muneyana (see #15). He has 6 poems in the Kokinshu. ¶ Miyoshi is otherwise unknown, as is the Tokiharu of the footnote. Cranes and turtles are, of course, symbols of longevity, and the latter in particular were thought to live a thousand years. Whose heart is unsatisfied by m'lord's lifespan is unclear: while the author's is the easiest to read ("my heart that's not tired of you"), the recipient's and the gods' are other possibilities -- and all three have difficulties interpreting what's up with the entrusting.

tsuru kame mo
chitose no nochi wa
shiranaku ni
akanu kokoro ni

kono uta wa, aru hito, ariwara no tokiharu ga to mo iu


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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