Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sixty-Eight



んじょういん

こころにも
あらでうきよに
ながらえば

こいしかるべき
よわのつきかな





68

(Emperor) Sanjo-no-In

If, against my wish,
In this floating world
I should live long —

How I would pine
For this moon of middle-night.






68

Across the river,
geese arrive
by the moon's light,

setting its image
dancing beneath
the trees — and so

we know joy,
though the world
has no use for us.





Notes

Sanjo-no-In, a very young Emperor of very short reign, was installed and then deposed by an impatient kingmaker. His hope for a short life in exile, as opposed to a long one, was granted. He may also have been blind, or even blinded. Thus his yearning for the moon.

The Old Nurse, for reasons of her own no doubt, focuses on a Shinto moon ceremony. Is the exiled Emperor among those present? Perhaps our inability to see him is commensurate with his inability to see the splendid moon.

Risa remembers walking with her beloved by the moonlit river at night. Geese, late in their arrival at their chosen place of sleep, disturb the image of the moon in a pool of still water. What though she and hers are not important people? How would their being so enhance this already perfect moment?



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