Friday, January 16, 2015






Minamoto no Toshiyori Ason

I did not make prayer
At the shrine
That the unkind one

Should become as pitiless
As the storms of Hatsuse's hills.


I sought from you
one kind word, and you
showed me the door.

Now I am alone
in wilderness.
Ah! That then

was kindness.


Minamoto no Shunrai (1055 -1129) aggregated the Gosen Wakashū and was friend to two emperors. The goddess of love has a shrine in hills having a cold and unforgiving climate. He has made his way there under difficult conditions, yet she does not answer his prayers as he would wish.

The Old Nurse knows an affirmative answer is not necessarily a blessing. She, too, ignores the courtier and shows us the common people enduring the blustery conditions and not complaining.

Risa remembers a relationship that turned out badly, except that it was one that surely would not have been good for her, and the ensuing freedom was good for her. There is a Chinese story about a farmer whose son, on whom he depended, was to be taken by the army, and his friends came by and said, too bad! To which he replied, "hmm." And then his son fell off the roof and broke his leg, at which the army chose not to take him, and the friends came by and said to the old farmer, well that was lucky! And he said, "hmm." And so on. Life is what it is. No more, but also no less. __()__