Monday, 18 March 2013

Kokinshu #374

Monday, 18 March 2013 07:09
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written when parting with someone at Ôsaka.

    If, Meeting Hill Gate,
you are a true barrier,
    detain my lord --
the one we're not tired of
yet who separates from us.

—17 March 2013

Original by Naniwa no Yorozuo, who is also otherwise unknown aside from this single poem in the Kokinshu. ¶ Ôsaka is not the modern city but rather the first checkpoint on the road east from the capital, in the hills south of modern Ôtsu City. Because a travel permit was required to pass through, it was a common place for final farewells -- one beloved of poets because one is parting at a place that sounded like it means "meeting hill." The nameplay is irrelevant here, but I translate it in the poem to be consistent with later ones, such as #390. Omitted-but-understood word: "barrier." Note, btw, that here kimi cannot be read as a formal "you" as the gate itself is directly addressed with an abrupt command.

ôsaka no
seki shi masashiki
mono naraba
akazu wakaruru
kimi o todomeyo



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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