Thursday, 27 June 2013

Kokinshu #412

Thursday, 27 June 2013 06:50
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Topic unknown.

    I hear the wild geese
crying as they head north.
    Surely the number
they brought here was greater than
those who are returning home.

Some say that a man and woman went out into the provinces together, where the man died right after they arrived. While returning alone to the capital, the woman heard on the road the cries of wild geese returning (north) and wrote this poem.

—25 June 2013

Original author unknown. Blanket explanation: any time an animal "cries," assume it's the naku/"call"/"weep" wordplay. "Here" and "home" are interpretive but strongly implied by the verbs. The two emphatic statements with similar sentence structures reads rather flatly, even with the speculative conjugation, but Tsurayuki apparently liked this, as he later quoted it in the Tosa Diary. The mild implication that the woman is heading the opposite direction from the geese has provoked occasional speculation that the man may have been a soldier involved in the "pacification" of northern Honshu.

kita e yuku
kari zo nakunaru
tsurete koshi
kazu wa tarade zo

kono uta wa, aru hito, otoko onna morotomo ni hito no kuni e makarikeri, otoko makari itarite sunawachi mi makarinikereba, onna hitori miyako e kaerikeru michi ni, kaeru kari no nakikeru o kikite yomeru to namu iu



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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