Happy Spring Everyone! Poem Number 61

March 30, 2012

The Daibutsuden and Cherry Blossoms

Sorry for the lengthy hiatus everyone. Been a long couple of weeks, but I am excited to post this poem in honor of women poets this month, and timely because of the coming of spring:

いにしへの Inishie no
奈良の都の Nara no miyako no
八重桜 Yae-zakura
今日九重に Kyo kokonoe ni
匂ひぬるかな nioi nuru kana

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

The eight-petalled cherries
from the Nara capital
of the ancient past
today nine layers thick
have bloomed within your court!

Lady Ise no Tayū, was another lady in waiting for Empress Shoshi, as was Lady Murasaki (poem 57) and Lady Izumi (poem 56), but was the newbie apparently.

According to Lady Ise no Tayū’s own diary, she had to present a poem on the fly to the Bishop from the ancient capital of Nara and its Buddhist institutions, who had brought a lovely eight-petaled cherry blossom as a gift. Empress Shoshi’s father, Fujiwara no Michinaga, had asked Lady Murasaki to do it, but she deferred to Lady Ise no Tayū because she was new.

Thankfully, her poem was a success. As Professor Mostow notes, it does a really nice job balancing the “ancient” with the modern, and the eight petals of the blossom with the metaphorical nine-layers of the Imperial court.

No wonder she made the inner-circle of Empress Shoshi. 🙂

Happy Spring everyone!

P.S. Photo was taken by me when I visited Nara in 2010 in the spring.

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2 Responses to “Happy Spring Everyone! Poem Number 61”

  1. Toma wo arami said

    Beautiful, thank you very much!

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