Twin Peaks: Poem Number 13

February 8, 2012

Mt.Tsukuba

The second poem in our series devoted to Valentine’s Day is this one:

筑波嶺の Tsukuba ne no
峰より落つる Mine yori otsuru
みなの川 Minano-gawa
恋ぞつもりて Koi zo tsumorite
淵となりぬる Fuchi to naru nuru

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

Like the Mina River
that falls from the peak
of Mount Tsukuba
so my longing has collected
and turned into deep pools.

According to commentaries, the poem, composed by Emperor Yōzei, was intended for “the princess of Tsuridono” who was Emperor Kōkō’s daughter. Sadly, Emperor Yōzei is better known for his severe mental instability in later years, and his other poetry was seldom never published.

Nevertheless, the analogy of Mount Tsukuba, pictured above, was an excellent choice. The mountain is famous in Japanese culture, especially for the two peaks: one called nantai (男体, “Man”) on the western side, and nyotai (女体, “Woman”) on the eastern side. It was a frequent topic used in love poetry back in the day. Even today, it is a very popular destination for tourists and nature lovers.

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