Thursday, 16 May 2013

Kokinshu #391

Thursday, 16 May 2013 06:50
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written when seeing off Ôe no Chifuru when he traveled to Koshi.

    Although I don't know
this White Mountain in Koshi
    where you are going,
I'll go follow your tracks in
the snow wherever they lead.

—14 May 2013

Original by Fujiwara no Kanesuke. Kanesuke (877–933), a younger brother of Kanemochi (see #385) and son-in-law of Sadakata (see #231), was a middling courtier, a patron of other poets (including Tsurayuki), and great-grandfather of Murasaki Shikibu (author of The Tale of Genji). He has 4 poems attributed to him in the Kokinshu, but see also #35. ¶ Ôe no Chifuru (?–923) was a younger brother of Chisato (see #14) and tutor of Emperor Daigo while still a young prince. Pivot-word: yuki = "go and"/"snow," and here (in contrast to #383) both senses are needed to make sense of things. There's also a sort of "uncollapsed" pivot-word: the sound echo of shirayama, "White Mountain," and shiranedomo, "although not know." The sentiment may have a bit of hyperbole, perhaps, but in a fitting way for a sensitive aristocrat, and the sound-play is appealing.

kimi ga yuku
koshi no shirayama
yuki no manimani
ato wa tazunemu



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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