Thursday, 31 January 2013

Kokinshu #357

Thursday, 31 January 2013 07:27
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
A poem written on a folding screen with pictures of the four seasons when the Principal Handmaiden celebrated the fortieth birthday of Minister of the Right Fujiwara [no Sadakuni].

    While I pick young greens
on Kasuga Plain, my heart
    is celebrating
your ten-thousand ages --
the gods themselves must know this!

—30 January 2013

(Original by Sosei.) Poems 357–363 are all for the same screen -- this and the next implicitly for the spring panel(s). The Principal Handmaiden was Fujiwara no Michiko, a younger sister of Sadakuni (866–906), who celebrated his 40th birthday in 905 -- other siblings include Yoruka (see #80) and Sadakata (see #231). Sadakuni was, incidentally, another minister involved in the 903 ouster of Sugewara no Michizane (see #272), and his death the year after this celebration was also attributed to Michizane's vengeful spirit. Much of which is irrelevant to the poem, but I still find this stuff interesting. For Kasuga Plain and picking young greens, see #1718. Given the Fujiwara clan shrine was in Kasuga, it may have been the clan's singular god who's supposed to know this.

kasugano ni
wakana tsumitsutsu
yorozuyo o
iwau kokoro wa
kami zo shiruramu



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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