Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ninety-Two



にじょういんのさぬき

わがそでは
しおひにみえぬ
おきのいしの

ひとこそしらね
かわくまもなし






92

(Lady) Nijo-no-In no Sanuki

As a rock at sea,
At ebb-tide is hid from view,
So is my tear-drenched sleeve –

Never for a moment dry,
And unknown to human ken.








92

We stand together
looking to the hills.
We stand together

Looking to the sea.





Notes

Nijo-no-In no Sanuki was a court lady-in-waiting (late 1100s C.E.) and noted competition poet, represented in multiple collections. She became a Buddhist nun in 1196. Here she takes a creative turn with the tear-drenched-sleeve trope, showing how she hides her sorrows (salt tears) by drowning them in the salt-laden waters of the ocean (human suffering in general?).

Hokusai's Old Nurse shows a woman with a nursing infant (perhaps a love child?) soldiering on. She apparently easily carries her end of a heavy load of freshly-dug clams, while keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself.

Risa speaks silently to her love of their long life side by side with shared goals and experiences, yet perhaps without coming to a full understanding of one another. Some things remain hidden -- in plain view, so to speak. Luckily this doesn't seem to weaken their resolve to see it through.



visipix.com