Saturday, 16 March 2013

Kokinshu #373

Saturday, 16 March 2013 08:16
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written and sent to someone who'd gone to the eastern provinces.

    Although I long to
I cannot split my body --
    so I shall send you
as a companion a heart
that can't be seen with the eye.

—14 March 2013

Original by Ikago no Atsuyuki, who is otherwise unknown aside from this one poem in the Kokinshu. ¶ The recipient had gone to Azuma, a general name for the eastern half of Honshu, everything from what's now the Tokyo metro area on north. What is longed for is unstated -- the traditional interpretation is "to go with you," but this reading feels more natural to me. The original plays on the homophone mi meaning both "body/self" and "eye" -- similar to the soundplay of "I" / "eye," though I don't see a way to bring that out as pointedly. Not bad, but the conceit was more charming in #368, when a mother sent her heart.


omoedomo
mi o shi wakeneba
mi ni mienu
kokoro o kimi ni
taguete zo yaru


---L.

About

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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