Thursday, 13 June 2013

Kokinshu #405

Thursday, 13 June 2013 06:58
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written upon parting with someone he'd flirted with whose carriage he'd met on the road.

    Even though the ends
of your undersash head off
    in different ways,
they still wrap around -- so too,
I believe, we shall meet again.

—4 June 2013

Original by Ki no Tomonori. In the headnote, "flirt" is not an exact translation: the verb indicates talking with someone in a courting or at least making-a-pass sort of way. An undersash is a cord tied at the waist of inner layers of clothing, a word with strong erotic connotations. Omitted-but-understood: "the ends of" and "again." The image of being bound together (as by fate) applies here.

And so ends our book of partings, with informal words after momentary meetings -- a far cry from the formal banquets of the start. Next up: travel poems.

shita no obi no
michi wa katagata
wakaru to mo
yukimegurite mo
awamu to zo omou



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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