Poem 5 from A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” or the “Hyaku-Nin-Isshiu

5

SARU MARU, A SHINTO OFFICIAL or SARU MARU TAIU

Oku yama ni
Momiji fumi wake
Naku shika no
Koe kiku toki zo
Aki wa kanashiki.

HEAR the stag’s pathetic call
Far up the mountain side,
While tramping o’er the maple leaves
Wind-scattered far and wide
This sad, sad autumn tide.

NOTE: Very little is known of this writer, but he probably lived not later than A.D. 800. Stags and the crimson leaves of the maple are frequently used as the symbolism of autumn.

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Poem 7 from A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” or the “Hyaku-Nin-Isshiu

7

NAKAMARO ABE or ABE NO NAKAMARO

Ama no hara
Furisake-mireba
Kasuga naru
Mikasa no yama ni
Ideshi tsuki kamo.

WHILE gazing up into the sky,
My thoughts have wandered far;
Methinks I see the rising moon
Above Mount Mikasa
At far-off Kasuga.

NOTE: The poet, when sixteen years of age, was sent with two others to China, to discover the secret of the Chinese calendar, and on the night before sailing for home his friends gave him a farewell banquet. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and after dinner he composed this verse. Another account, however, says that the Emperor of China, becoming suspicious, caused him to be invited to a dinner at the top of a high pagoda, and then had the stairs removed, in order that he might be left to die of hunger. Nakamaro is said to have bitten his hand and written this verse with his blood, after which he appears to have escaped and fled to Annam. Kasuga, pronounced Kasunga, is a famous temple at the foot of Mount Mikasa, near Nara, the poet’s home; the verse was written in the year 726, and the author died in 780

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From: A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN

ISBN: 978-1-907256-19-6

http://www.abelapublishing.com/hvoj.html

A percentage of the profits will be donated to the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.

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