Thursday, 3 October 2013

Kokinshu #452

Thursday, 3 October 2013 07:05
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
River bamboo (kawatake)

    As the night deepens,
it rises to the zenith.
    Blow back and return
to us the eternal moon,
O mountain winds of autumn!

—1 September 2013

Original by Prince Kagenori, a grandson of Emperor Montoku. His birthdate unknown but given his father, Prince Kore'eda (a younger brother of Koretaka (see #74)), lived 846–868, he must have been born in the 860s. He last appears in court records in 897 as a middling courtier, and has two poems in the Kokinshu. ¶ The kawatake could generically mean bamboo growing on a riverbank or refer specifically to either the timber bamboo or Simon bamboo of the previous, so called because they were planted by the water in the imperial gardens. Like the previous poem, it's a summer topic for an autumn poem. I like the irony of using a stock epithet that probably means "everlasting" for a moon whose change is being complained about. There's also some wordplay in the repetition of forms of fuku meaning "get old" for the night and "blow" for the wind.

sayo fukete
nakaba takeyuku
hisakata no
tsuki fukikaese
aki no yamakaze



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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