Tuesday, 17 September 2013

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
River-weed (kawanagusa)

    How on earth might this
bring me comfort in these dreams
    black as lily seeds?
-- I with a heart not even
satisfied by the real world!

25 August 2013

Original by Kiyowara no Fukayabu. Kawanagusa (literally "river-grass") is the third of the three mysterious plants of the Kokinshu -- evidently some sort of riverine water-plant. I've no idea what season it might apply to. Ubatama no, "of/as leopard-lily seeds," is a stock epithet for the night and things associated with it such as, here, "dreams," conveying a general, highly poetic sense of "pitch-black." Unstated-but-understood: the dreams are of seeing his lover.


ubatama no
yume ni nani ka wa
nagusamamu
utsutsu ni dani mo
akanu kokoro wa


---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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