Being in Love, part 2: Poem Number 41

July 17, 2011

Auguste Renoir Conversation

In our last episode, we talked about a famous poetry contest in 960 which pitted two excellent poems against one another. Poem 40 by Taira no Kanemori was judged the winner, but this poem on the same theme was the loser:

恋すてふ Koisu chō
我が名はまだき Waga na wa madaki
立ちにけり Tachi ni keri
人しれずこそ Hito shirezu koso
思ひそめしか Omoi someshi ka

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

My name already
is bandied about with
rumors I’m in love—
though, unknown to anyone, I thought,
I had only just begun to love her!

Mibu no Tadami, the author, was said to be so distraught over losing the contest that he wasted away and died, though this story may not have actually happened. Mostow points out in his book that additional poems by the author suggest that he was alive and well for many years to come.

Mostow also points out that even though the poem won 2nd place, it has been highly prized throughout the ages, just as poem 40 has been.

One Response to “Being in Love, part 2: Poem Number 41”

  1. shiroisunlucky said

    Reblogged this on kuuru. and commented:
    a more detailed explanation:

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