Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Forty-Seven




えぎょうほうし

やえむぐら
しげれるやどの
さびしきに

ひとこそみえね
あきはきにけり



47

Eikei Hoshi (monk)

To the humble cot,
Overgrown with thick-leaved vines
In its loneliness,

Comes the dreary autumn time —
And not even man is there.




47

Wading that far
river, turning over
stones for caddis

flies unborn,
you met no one –
not even me.




Notes

The monk Eikei turns in a standard meditation on the evanescence of the human presence in a natural landscape. We build homes; we vanish; nature reclaims our works. Hokusai's Old Nurse, however, harks back to the time when human activity filled the scene. It is certainly autumn; geese fly away, a tree bears fruit; tobacco leaves dry under the eaves of the house; a man washes a horse; a woman brings the saddle; a woman and child winnow rice. These routine activities gain poignancy from the poem's view of a later time ...

Risa's thoughts, on the other hand, turn to spring and a moment of isolation in the beloved's life.


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