Sunday, September 21, 2014

Early Japanese Poetry from The Manyoshu

Remembrance by Anonymous (5th/6th Century)

On winter evenings when the mist hangs low
Over the reed beds and the reeds look blue
And chill,chill,chill
                                the wild ducks call each other,
I shall remember you.

A Grain of Sand by Anonymous (7th Century)

No. I shall not die for love.
I lack the discipline
To face the waves and drown in them.
My nature is to spin
Around and around like a grain of sand
Whenever a tide flows in.

Fishing Lanterns by Anonymous (8th Century)

As down behind the mountain rim
The moon begins to sink,
Across these wide dark wastes of water
Fishing lanterns blink
And, when we think ourselves alone
Far out on the midnight sea,
There comes the sound of plashing oars
Yet farther out than we.

translations by Graeme Wilson in 'From the Morning of The World'

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