Monday, 20 May 2013

Kokinshu #393

Monday, 20 May 2013 08:17
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written while parting with people who climbed the mountain to worship and were returning.

    Our separation --
I shall entrust it to
    the mountain cherries:
whether you stay or not is
at the whim of the flowers.

—16-20 May 2013

Original by Yûsen. Yûsen (836–900) was a Fujiwara, lay personal name unknown, who took vows as a Buddhist priest. He has 2 poems in the Kokinshu. ¶ It's generally understood that the mountain is Hiei (see #87) and that Yûsen resided in a temple there. Omitted-but-understood verb: "is." It's unclear whether he's hoping the flowers will scatter and confuse the path (as in the next poem) or the visitors will be entranced enough to stay (as in the poem after). Not a great translation -- and while it's not a great poem either, that's no excuse.

wakare o-ba
yama no sakura ni
tomemu tomeji wa
hana no manimani



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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