Friday, 10 May 2013

Kokinshu #388

Friday, 10 May 2013 07:07
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written when people, loath to part with him and return, traveled from Yamazaki to the sacred forest to see him off.

    Since it's not a road
I'm compelled to by others,
    I just have to say
it's heartbreaking all over --
well then, let's all return home!

—8 May 2013

Original by Minamoto no Sane. Sane had a career as middling official between 880 and his death in 900. This is his only poem in the Kokinshu, though he also appears in the headnotes of the previous and next poems. ¶ This is assumed to be from the same sending off as the previous, a little while later. The sacred forest (kannabi no mori), somewhere downstream the Yodo of Yamakazi, is sometimes conjectured to be a place now called Kanmaki in modern Osaka Prefecture. Where the quote begins is, as often, ambiguous, though it matters little to the general sense here (either he's calling everything "heartbreaking" or saying "everything's heartbreaking"). Non-literalisms: "just have to" is merely interpretive addition, but "all" is added on the assumption that the next poem is an immediate reply. This is a valiant attempt to lighten the mood, but I'm not so sure it works all that well as poetry.

hitoyari no
michi naranaku ni
ookata wa
ikiushi to iite
iza kaerinamu



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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