Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sixty-Four



ごんちゅうなごんさだより

あさぼらけ
うじのかわぎり
たえだえに

あらはれわたる
ぜぜのあじろぎ




64

Gon-Chunagon Sadayori (Fujiwara no Sadayori)

At early dawn,
When the mists over Uji's stream
Slowly lift and clear,

The net-stakes on the shoals,
Near and far away, appear!





64

Searching for a lost
crew-woman, we
forded three creeks

in deepening fog.
It was ourselves
we lost then.



Notes

Fujiwara no Sadayori was a court official in the early eleventh century, noted for liasons with famous women poets and for his musical and literary accomplishments. Here he appreciates the place where the Uji River enters Lake Biwa, describing, in a few evocative syllables, the gradual rolling back of the mists, revealing the scene.

The Old Nurse focuses on travelers near the Uji River as they pass a tiny shrine at the foot of a tree. This unfinished print, Morse says, may have been intended to show the fishing net stakes, but is not that far along, leaving the viewer's expectations forever lost in mist.

Risa recalls an occasion, many years before, when fog impacted an urgent search. It turned out all right, but no one who was there night will ever forget it.


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