Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eighteen





ふじわらのとしゆきあそん

すみのえの
きしによるなみ
よるさえや

ゆめのかよいじ
ひとめよくらん





18

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason

See the gathered waves
On the shore of Sumi's bay --
Even in gathered night,

When in dreams I come to you,
I must shun the eyes of men.





18

Even to dream
may shatter
my world.

What name
did I speak to
the night?




Notes

Fujiwara no Toshiuki was a Heian dynasty aristocrat and poet, active in the 900s C.E., and one of the Thirty-Six Poetry Immortals.

Hokusai's Old Nurse sees a ship, presumably on Sumi Bay (in present-day Osaka) from which two hidden lovers peek forth. One commentator remarks that they are not a particularly attractive couple -- perhaps Nurse sees crewmembers, and not aristocrats -- in keeping with her subversive findings elsewhere.

Risa is remembering a time when love was complicated, to say the least, so her poem is practically a paraphrase of Toshiuki's.


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