Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Kokinshu #379

Tuesday, 9 April 2013 07:02
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written when a friend traveled to the eastern provinces.

    Your departure now
for hither and thither
    among the white clouds
is a journey that, ah!, shreds
my heart into prayer strips.

—7 April 2013

Original by Yoshimine no Hideoka. His parentage (though presumably he's somehow related to Henj├┤ and Sosei) and dates are unknown, but he appears in court records during the last two decades of the 800s as a middling courtier. He has this one poem in the Kokinshu. ¶ For nusa prayer strips, see #298. Here's another example of what's in effect an adverbial stock epithet: shirakumo no, "of/among the white clouds," modifying tachi-, the "de-" of "depart" but meaning "rise" when alone. Omitted-but-understood verb: "is." The conceit is a little odd, but the poem's sound is not bad and I'm kinda charmed by it.

shirakumo no
konata kanata ni
kokoro o nusa to
kudaku tabi ka na



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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