Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sixty


こしきぶのないし

おおえやま
いくののみちの
とければ

まだふみもみず
あまのはしだて




60

Lady Koshikibu no Naishi

As, by Oe's mount
And over Iku's plain, the way
Is so very far—

I have not yet even seen
Ama-no-hashidate. (The Bridge of Heaven).






60

I did not know
love had gone;
I stood by the stairs

a long time, then
walked away.





Notes

Koshikibu no Naishi  11th century, was daughter to a very famous poetess. Upon being chided that perhaps her mother was helping her write poems, she composed this tanka extempore, ironically agreeing that as she has seen nothing yet, how can she write poems? This silenced the critic, who walked away flummoxed.

The incomplete print we have from Hokusai for this poem suggests a scene of great beauty in the distance, but leaves that area blank. Perhaps the Old Nurse hasn't been to the "Bridge of Heaven" either.

visipix.com

Risa's response poem, unlike the tanka, is a love poem. It points to one of the many ways of encountering emptiness.