Friday, 2 August 2013

Kokinshu #428

Friday, 2 August 2013 07:15
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Japanese plum flowers (sumomo no hana)

    Now that there aren't
many days left of springtime,
    it seems that even
the bush warbler gazes off
into space, brooding on things.

—7 July 2013

(Original by Ki no Tsurayuki.) This is a different species of plum (Prunus salicina) from the Chinese ume blossoms (Prunus mume) of early spring -- this is the main fruit tree, with white flowers that aren't as ornamental and bloom later. In the poem, the implication is that the bird has gone silent, giving us a "reasoning" style poem without the evidence half, which is refreshing. The "things" brooded upon are given a slight emphasis (marked as a topic, rather than direct object), subtly implying the bird is melancholy over the departing blossoms of the topic.


ima ikuka
haru shi nakereba
uguisu mo
mono wa nagamete
omouberanari


---L.

About

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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