Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seventy-Five



ふじわらのもととし

ちぎりおきし
させもがつゆを
いのちにて

あわれことしの
あきもいぬめり





75

Fujiwara no Mototoshi

Though your promise was
"Like the dew on the moxa plant"
And, to me, was life,

Yet the year has passed
Even into autumn time.






75

Did I not
remember?
No, I did not.

So you showed me
the letter, written
in my own hand.




Notes

Fujiwara no Mototoshi, d.1142, was a noted (and feared) judge at poetry competitions. Here he describes the effect of a broken promise as like vanishing dew or even the approach of death.

Hokusai's Old Nurse shows us a throng of people streaming into a temple, where vows are often made only to be broken not long after the oh-so-ardent pilgrims get home. As much as to say, dude, what did you expect?

Risa recalls not having recalled a promise long ago made and broken, and her shame at being shown the proof of it in her own handwriting!


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