Monday, December 26, 2011

Thirty-Four



ふじわらのおきかぜ

たれをかも
しるひとにせん
たかさごの

まつもむかしの
ともならなくに




34

Fujiwara no Okikaze

Whom then are there now,
In my age, so far advanced,
I can hold as friends?

Even Takasago's pines
Are not friends as of former days.




34

When I saw
the place where
you and I had

gathered apples,
what could I do
but weep?




Notes

Fujiwara no Okikaze, active in the 900s C.E., was one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals and had poems included in several imperial poetry anthologies, including Kokin Wakashū

Hokusai's Old Nurse envisions a relaxed group of people hanging round the famous pine, doing exactly what the poet rues having lost. It's almost as though she is taunting him (for his attachment, as though one could freeze time) with this scene.

In Japan, pines represent longevity. Okikaze's poem is of course not about the pine, but about the deleterious impact of time upon relationships. Likewise, Risa's poem is not about apples.


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