Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twenty-Seven



ちゅうなごんかねすけ

みかのはら
わきてながるる
いづみがわ

いつみきとてか
こいしかるらん




27

Chunagon Kanesuke

Over Mika's plain,
Gushing forth and flowing free,
Is Izumi's stream.

I know not if we have met:
Why, then, do I long for her?





27

When you asked
if you might
walk with me,

I said yes,
then looked
away. It is —

a thing we do.



Notes

The great-grandfather of Lady Murasaki, Chunagon Kanesuke was one of the Thirty-Six Immortal Poets. His home was a resort of poets and artists.

In an unfinished drawing for a woodcut, Hokusai's Old Nurse envisions a ferry boat on the river named in the poem, which flows west from the hills into Osaka Bay. There may be two small groups of passengers, and neither group takes notice of the other. Or do they? Perhaps the poet is in one of these, and the object of his notice is in the other. And now perhaps he does not well remember this chance meeting -- only the longing.

Risa remembers walking along a river with one who loved her -- and whose glance she found unsettling.


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