Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fifty-Seven


むらさきしきぶ

めぐりあいて
みしやそれとも
わかぬまに

くもがくれにし
よわのつきかげ



57

Lady Murasaki Shikibu

Meeting in the way,
While I cannot quite see
If this is friend or not —

Already the midnight moon
In a cloud has disappeared.





57

Around us people
talked on inanely;
we two fled, 

seeking shadow.





Notes

Lady Murasaki is of course the author of the world's first known novel, The Tale of Genji. She was also a noted poet.

"Murasaki Shikibu ( , English: Lady Murasaki) (c. 978 – c. 1014 or 1025) was a Japanese novelist,poet and lady-in-waiting at the Imperial court during the Heian period. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, written in Japanese between about 1000 and 1012. Murasaki Shikibu is a nickname; her real name is unknown, but she may have been Fujiwara Takako, who was mentioned in a 1007 court diary as an imperial lady-in-waiting." -- Wikipedia

The Old Nurse makes quite a drama of the poem. Two groups, the principals of whom appear not to be of quite the same class, appear briefly to recognize one another across a stream, while passing on opposite banks. A perceptive commentator asks if the child at right has just missed meeting his father, left center.

http://www.visipix.com/sites-en/hoku_100_poem/poem_56_60.htm

Risa responds to the moon's disappearance into a cloud. She and her loved one left two groups that met, rather than passed, to sit on a bench in near darkness, wrapped in the bubble of solitude.