Monday, 7 October 2013

Kokinshu #454

Monday, 7 October 2013 07:04
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Bamboo grass, pine, loquat, banana leaf (sasa, matsu, biwa, bashôba)

    While I carelessly
waited for his time to come,
    the day has ended
-- even though that person knows
the true state of my feelings.

—10 September 2013

Original by the Ki Wet-Nurse. The parentage, personal name, and dates of this daughter of the Ki family are unknown, but she was wet-nurse (menoto) to Emperor Yôzei (b. 869) so she was born probably around 850, and she received promotions in rank in 877 and 882 at the start and end of his reign. She has two poems in the Kokinshu. ¶ Textual issue: my base text has the non-word isazame in the first line, which is universally emended to isasame ("careless"/"without attention"). The plants arc wraps up with a couple show-off poems using multiple hidden topics, listed in the order used. Seasonality is all over the place with this one, and probably isn't worth detailing anyway any more, though some commentaries note these four may be linked by all having been used medicinally. "Of my feelings" is interpretive, as are "for his" and "to come," and "knows" is more literally "can see."

Question for those without Japanese: would it add anything if I highlighted the meanings of the words the topics are hidden in?

isasame ni
toki matsu ma ni zo
hi wa henuru
kokorobase o-ba
hito ni mietsutsu



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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