Thursday, 17 October 2013

Kokinshu #459

Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:11
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
(Cape Kara)

    The flowers of waves
from the sea look like they are
    blooming, scattering.
Isn't it as though the wind
is springtime for the water?

—8 October 2013

Original by Ise. Same topic, hidden marginally better; given the waves are arriving from the deepwater "offing" and Biwa as a lake generally doesn't go for whitecaps, the topic isn't as relevant as it might first seem. (Note, btw, the assumption that an omitted topic is carried over from the previous poem is here demonstrably correct by its being hidden.) Seeing whitecaps as flowers is a conventional image (see #250, #272, et cet.) but lampshading the comparison gives a more charming effect than usual. Grammatical ambiguity: the wind might "be like" or "become" spring, and commentaries are split on which to understand, with a slight preference for the latter. The former is, to my mind, a more poetic conception, so I went with that.

nami no hana
oki kara sakite
mizu no haru to wa
kaze ya naruramu


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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