Friday, January 11, 2013

Fifty



ふじわらのよしたか

きみがため
おしからざりし
いのちさえ

ながくもがなと
おもいけるかな



50

Fujiwara no Yoshitaka  

For thy precious sake,
Once my eager life itself
Was not dear to me.

But 'tis now my heart's desire
It may long, long years endure.




50

I said to you then,
as we stood beneath
the lilacs:

"Now that I have
met you, I will live

forever."




Notes

Fujiwara no Yoshitaka, an official, was active in the 900s C.E., and died of smallpox at age twenty-one. His poem is therefore lent poignancy by its desire for an eternity in which to enjoy his love.

Hokusai's Old Nurse envisions a scene of timeless tranquility: three men and three women at the end of a long, hot bath. Two diving cormorants in an expanse of  still water perhaps provide the entertainment.

Of interest: from Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost:

      When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
      The endeavor of this present breath may buy
      That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge
      And make us heirs of all eternity.

http://www.visipix.com
Risa, in her response poem, remembers a moment of possibly hyperbolic declaration in the early stages of love.