Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Kokinshu #415

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 07:15
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Written on the road when traveling to the eastern provinces.

    It isn't something
that gets twisted into thread,
    yet it seems to me
that the road down which we part
is, alas!, thin-spirited.

—20 June 2013

Original by Ki no Tsurayuki. Wordplay at the heart of this: kororobosoi, "forlorn/discouraging/hopeless," is literally "heart narrow/thin." It may not be thin as a thread, but parting makes the heart feel that way. This poem has not fared well with critics, with one famously calling it a "rubbish poem" (he literally trashed it!), and a medieval writer described it as the least esteemed of the Kokinshu. It is, certainly, a weak effort for Tsurayuki.

ito ni yoru
mono naranaku ni
wakareji no
kokorobosoku mo
omooyuru ka na



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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