Washed Away: Poem Number 32

January 21, 2013

Thorp Gristmill Weir

山川に Yama gawa ni
風のかけたる kaze no kaketaru
しがらみは shigarami wa
流れもあへぬ nagaremo aenu
紅葉なりけり momoji narikeri

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

Ah, the weir
that the wind has flung
across the mountain stream
is the autumn foliage that cannot flow on, even though it would.

Harumichi no Tsuraki (d. 920) was a relatively unknown member of the Court who graduated from the Imperial university in 910 and had only a few poems published in the official anthologies. So, it’s somewhat unusual to see such a poem like this one in the Hyakunin Isshu anthology, but as Mostow points out, commentators in the past heavily praised the line “the weir that the wind has flung” (kaze no kaketaru shigarami wa). Fujiwara no Teika, the composer of the Hyakunin Isshu, must have been similarly impressed. A weir, by the way, is a barrier over a river or stream (I had to look it up 😉 ).

Anyhow, nice to see someone get their moment in the sun (let alone poetic history). 🙂

4 Responses to “Washed Away: Poem Number 32”

  1. Where is the pronunciation for the last sentence?

  2. Eliana said

    Isn’t yamaGA?

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