Monday, January 16, 2012

Thirty-Nine



さんぎひとし

あさじうの
をののしのはら
しのぶれど

あまりてなどか
ひとのこいしき




39

Sanji Hitoshi (Minamoto no Hitoshi)

Bamboo-growing plain,
With a field bearing small reeds --
Though I bear my lot,

Why is it too much to bear?
Why do I still love her so?





39

The color of
your eyes --
on a mountain path

I saw at dawn
spread unexpectedly
on clouds below.




Notes

Sanjo Hitoshi was a court official in the 900s and served in the provinces. He is known mostly by this poem of unrequited or forbidden love.

Hokusai's Old Nurse shows the poet observing a desolate landscape shrouded in fog, with two retainers in waiting. Workmen carrying heavy burdens appear at lower right; perhaps they are being held up by the gentry. There may be a subversive commentary on the heaviness of the lord's "burden."

Risa is here startled by the color of sunrise on a bank of clouds -- so like a remembered lover's eyes.


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