Sanji Hitoshi (Minamoto no Hitoshi)
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?
The color of
your eyes --
on a mountain path
I saw at dawn
on clouds below.
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."