Nostalgia: Poem Number 84

October 10, 2013

Nostalgia 110X70CM

This is kind of a cool, unusual poem to find in the Hyakunin Isshu, but something we can all appreciate:

ながらへば Nagaraeba
またこの頃や Mata kono koro ya
しのばれむ Shinobaren
憂しと見し世ぞ Ushi to mishi yo zo
今は恋しき Ima wa koishiki

To which Professor Mostow translates as:

If I live on longer,
shall I again, I wonder,
yearn for these days?
The world that I once saw as
bitter, now, is dear to me.

This poem was composed by Fujiwara no Kiyosuke (1104-1177) who was the second son of Fujiwara no Akisuke (poem 79). Professor Mostow states that Kiyosuke disagreed with his father and the Rokujo School of poetry that he established, but ended up becoming head of the school anyway.

At heart, this poem is about nostalgia, how bitter things now somehow soften over time. Everyone can think of a bitter time in their life, but looking back nostalgia makes it seem sweeter than it was back then. It’s also a reminder that if we are going through a hard time now, it won’t always be that way in the future.

In a concrete sense, Professor Mostow points out that some commentators think this may have alluded to the decline of the times, and in particular the Hōgen Rebellion, mentioned also in poem 76 and poem 77.

But even if that were true, it’s interesting how we tend to look back on this era with a kind of bitter-sweet nostalgia, far removed from the pain and destruction caused at the time.

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One Response to “Nostalgia: Poem Number 84”

  1. shiroisunlucky said

    Reblogged this on kuuru..

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