The Autumn Wind: Poem Number 71

September 8, 2013

Rice Field.

Another great poem for Autumn:

夕されば Yu sureba
門田の稲葉 Kadota no inaba
おとづれて Otozurete
あしのまろやに Ashi no maroya ni
秋風ぞふく Akikake zo fuku

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

As evening falls,
through the rice-plants before the gate,
it comes visiting, and rustling
on the reeds of the simple hut—
the autumn wind does blow!

The poet, Dainagon Minamoto no Tsunenobu (1016-1097), had a number of poets in his family. He was the father of Toshiyori (poem 74) and grandfather of Shun’e (poem 85), contributed a number of poems to the official anthologies and had a rival or two in his time.

According to Mostow, this poem was composed by Tsunenobu when he was visiting the villa of his friend, Minamoto no Morokata. Unlike other poems of the era which are often composed for poetry contests, apparently he composed this while watching the view from the villa. The villa in question was in a place called Umezu (梅津), on the outskirts of Kyoto the capital. Nowadays, you can find Umezu within the suburbs of Kyoto now, but it’s interesting to imagine an earlier time when it was a country villa surrounded by rice fields, and to imagine a cold autumn wind blowing across them.

This poem catches the spirit of autumn better than many others, I feel. 🙂

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