Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seventy-Two



ゆうしないしんのうけのきい

おとにきく
たかしのはまの
あだなみは

かけじやそでの
ぬれもこそすれ






72

(Lady) Yushi Naishinnoke no Kii

Well I know the fame
Of the fickle waves that beat
On Takashi's strand;

Should I go near that shore
I should only wet my sleeves.







72

We old-timers told
our moldy tales.
I asked: full

of ourselves, huh?
The newbie answered:
now I feel better!

For a bit I thought
you were just
full of yourselves!






Notes

Long a lady-in-waiting, Yushi Naishinnoke no Kii is now known only for her poems. This masterpiece of youthful flirtation is said to have been produced in her 70s. If she goes too near the shore (the attentions of men) she will get her sleeves wet (it will all end in weeping).

Hokusai's Old Nurse understands that male privilege is a constant danger and so visualizes the lady on the beach approached by an intermediary on behalf of one whose advances cannot with complete safety be refused.

Risa remembers an interesting moment in a nomadic tree planters' camp, when the men who have been members of the crew for many years regale a new crew member (an attractive woman) with stories of their (manly) adventures. Risa tells one of her own, undermining the masculine narratives with comic relief, to the merriment of her young friend.



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