Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eleven




さんぎたかむら

わたのはら
やそしまかけて
こぎいでぬと

ひとにはつげよ
あまのつりぶね




11

Sangi Takamura

O'er the wide, wide sea,
Towards its many distant isles,
Rowing I set forth.

This, to all the world proclaim,
O ye boats of fisher-folk!





11

I walk on sand
and think to join
the gulls. We'll seek

a route across waves,
leaving behind
so many troubles.

The dory-boatmen
launch through surf,
their eyes

picking a way
through rocks ahead.



Notes

Active in the 800s BCE, Sangi Takamura, an Imperial counselor, displeased the Emperor and was banished. Will the ama divers and their rowers remember him to the people? Hokusai's "nurse" appears to be somewhat skeptical.

Risa is thinking of the fishing fleet at Pacific City, Oregon, where she often walks the beach alone, sorting through her thoughts and feelings. The dory-boatmen launch directly into the surf, then turn round and go straight out into the Pacific -- toward Japan. Sometimes one can walk for three hours without meeting anyone but a few sea lions; it's a good way to appreciate exile for a moment.


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