Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ki no Tsurayuki

Ki no Tsurayuki [Wikipedia]

tanka from Ki no Tsurayuki's The Tosa Diary, A.D. 935, tr. William N. Porter, 1912:

Though upon the shore
Wind-blown waves break into foam
White like flowers in bloom,
Neither nightingales nor spring
Knew these flowers were blossoming.

While I watch the shore
From the swiftly moving ship,
Do the pine trees guess,
That the hills on which they grow
Seem to move along also?

Fast my teardrops fall,
But to twist a silken thread
Surely would be vain;
Who could thread up pearls so frail?
All my skill wound not avail.

Suminoye’s pines,
As I watch them, seem to be
Younger far than I;
I shall vanish from the scene,
But the pines are evergreen.

If the cherry trees
Nevermore burst forth in bloom,
Twould be better far;
For the saddest time of all
Is the spring, when petals fall.

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