Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ninety-Six



にゅうどうさきのだいじょう
だいじん

はなさそう
あらしのにわの
ゆきならで

ふりゆくものは
わがみなりけり







96

Nyudo Saki no Daijo-Daijin (Fujiwara no Kitsune)

It is I that fall
from the tree of life, and

Not this snow of flowers
That the wild wind drags
Round the garden court.









96

I placed the skull
on a stump, saying,
"There. Now you

can see better."
Knowing this
was not so, and, shamed,

I stayed an hour,
seeing for the deer.







Notes

Fujiwara no Kitsune was a lay priest and prime minister active in the 1200s C.E. His poem of old age uses the trope of falling petals but with possibly some arrogance he substitutes himself for the entire fall of the blossoms.

The Old Nurse shows us a lady and her assistant clearing away the petals. As Peter Morse notes, the lady looks into the tree a bit peevishly, as if to say, "enough already!"

Risa, reading this poem, suddenly recalled having been both disrespectful to, and, upon reflection, respectful to, the remains of a forest creature that had fallen.


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