Saturday, 10 August 2013

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
(Ogatama tree)

    The spirit flies off --
yet even if it came back,
    what would it see?
-- for the empty husk it left
has been turned into flames.

Below "ogatama tree" by Tomonori.

—14 July 2013

Original by Fujiwara no Kachion. Another of Teika's restorations. Here, tama is not the "gem" of the frothy poems but its homonym, "spirit." This is grammatically tangled, with three separate "even though" constructions -- which is at least one too many; a slight redistribution of conjunctions was needed for coherent English. "Empty husk" double-translates kara, while "it left" is interpretive. Funeral rites of the time involved cremation, and the relevance of the poem's content to the evergreen topic can be debated.

kakerite mo
nani o ka tama no
kite mo mimu
kara wa honoo to
narinishi mono o

ogatama no ki, tomonori shita



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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