Thursday, 31 October 2013

Kokinshu #465

Thursday, 31 October 2013 07:10
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
Paper marbling (suminagashi)

    But if there weren't
a pathway that travels through
    the mists of springtime,
the geese that come in autumn
would not be returning north.

—24 October 2013

Original by Ariwara no Shigeharu. "Non-living things" is an elastic category: dictionaries define suminagashi as the process of marbling paper (or cloth), rather than the result. Commentaries compare the scene of mists breaking up to the marble pattern, which feels like a bit of a stretch. Translator additions: "North" is interpretive, while "that travels" is an attempt to reproduce the effect of an emphatic marker on naka, "within/through."


harugasumi
naka shi kayoiji
nakariseba
aki kuru kari wa
kaerazaramashi


---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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