Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fifty-One




ふじわらのさねかたあそん

かくとだに
えやわいぶきの
さしもぐさ

さしもしらじな
もゆるおもいを


51

Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason

That it is as it is,
How can I make known to her?
So, she may never know

That the love I feel for her
Like Ibuki's moxa burns.





51

Is this the last
day we may walk
together? Then

I suppose I 
must gaze
straight ahead.



Notes

Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason was a relatively short-lived courtier and poet active in the late 900s C.E. Moxa is a plant fiber which, when wound into a small dried cone shape, could be set on various points of the body and then burned, with an intended effect similar to acupuncture. Like a good patient, he must bear the pain (of love) quietly, for the sake of decorum.

Hokusai's Old Nurse visualizes a Moxa apothecary at Mount Ibuki (where the best stuff came from). Travelers, or perhaps customers, sit out front while a horse is attended to, and refreshments are provided by the proprietress. Perhaps one of the travelers is on his way to or from an appointment with the beloved, and thinks of the moxa simile while disguising his feelings?

Risa too remembers disguising her feelings, because she found it necessary to say farewell in a public place.