Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sixty-Five



さがみ

うらみわび
ほさぬそでだに
あるものを

こいにくちなん
なこそおしけれ




65

(Lady) Sagami

Even when my sleeves,
Through my hate and misery,
Never once are dry,

For such love my name decays.
How deplorable my lot!





65

I still defend you,
still blame myself —
I should extend

such courtesy
to the living.




Notes

Lady Sagami, daughter of a warrior and wife of an official, is thought to have entered her poem at a competition, perhaps on a provided theme. It's about a (perhaps short) love affair that has besmirched her reputation. In the original Japanese above, she has put it in emphatic terms which do not come through in translation.

The Old Nurse has a bit of fun with the thought that such a lady can drown her sleeves in an ocean of tears, by showing a chore-woman resolutely hanging cloths out to dry. Around her, life goes on.

Risa reflects upon a long-ago-ended relationship that did not turn out well, with someone who is now deceased. Why is she bothered with the ethical ramifications of her actions then, when she cannot be bothered to treat well those who are living and present?


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