Thursday, 22 August 2013

Kokinshu #437

Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:02
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Maidenflowers (ominaeshi)

    It's as if to pierce
the white dewdrops like pearls --
    the spiders have stretched
their warp threads over all
of the flowers and the leaves.

—16 July-19 August 2013

Original by Ki no Tomonori. Textual issue: my base text has ya to in l.2, which is a little confusing, and this is commonly (but not universally) emended to the more comprehensible to ya, changing a comparison-to-a-question into a question-about-a-comparison. Since the meaning is effectively the same either way, only that the emendation smooths text into Tomonori's usual graceful tempts me to make it. The topic is another old friend, this one from autumn. The stretching out of warp threads, as if on a loom, makes the dewdrops not the usual gems strung a necklace (compare #225) but ones woven onto cloth. This is an image I've not seen anywhere else, which means I should take back what I've said about Tomonori's complete unoriginality. (Either that or I need to read more extensively.)

shiratsuyu o
tama ni nuku ya to
sasagani no
hana ni mo ha ni mo
ito o mina heshi



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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