Monday, November 21, 2011

Twenty-Eight




みなもとのむねゆきあそん

やまざとは
ふゆぞさびしさ
まさりける

ひとめもくさも
かれぬとおもえば



28

Minamoto no Muneyuki Ason

Winter loneliness
In a mountain hamlet grows
Only deeper, when

Guests are gone, and leaves and grass
Withered are ....




28

In boots I made rounds.
Looking back,
I saw no track

but mine.



Notes:

Minamoto no Muneyuki was a grandson of an Emperor and is regarded as one of the Thirty-Six Poetry Immortals. The silence that falls after the departure of guests is a traditional subject.

The Old Nurse outdoes herself here. She imagines the mountain village long deserted, perhaps for decades. Hunters, who have no idea, perhaps, of who may have lived here, use rotted timbers as firewood. The smoke drifts away past the wrecked and snow-drifted dwelling. This is one of Hokusai's masterworks.

Risa remembers her friends making an extended journey into town, awaiting better weather before their work could recommence. She tended camp, and often turned to look back at her own footprints, unaccompanied in deep snow.



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