Autumn Mist and Rain: Poem 87

January 29, 2014

Julian Alden Weir Autumn Rain

It’s been a while, but I wanted to start off with a nice, descriptive poem:

むらさめの Murasame no
露もまだひぬ Tsuyu mo mada hinu
まきの葉に Maki no ha ni
霧立ちのぼる Kiri tachinoboru
秋の夕暮 Aki no yugure

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

While the raindrops of
the passing shower have not yet dried from
near the leaves of the evergreens,
the mist is already rising, on
this evening in autumn.

This poem was composed by Dharma-master Jakuren (d. 1202) whose name was originally Fujiwara no Sadanaga before he took tonsure. He is a nephew of Shunzei (poem 83) and according to Professor Mostow a leading poets in the house of Mikohidari. He helped to compile the official poetry anthologies at the time, but died before completion.

Professor Mostow points out that Fujiwara no Teika, another member of the House of Mikohidari, didn’t praise this poem at first, and it made the “cutting floor” of the Imperial anthology that Jakuren helped compile, the Shin-Kokinshū, or in other anthologies. And yet, years later, it appears here in the Hyakunin Isshu by Fujiwara no Teika. The poem is generally viewed as a simple, straightforward descriptive poem, which is perhaps why it wasn’t as highly revered as other more subtle poems, or poems with more of a backstory.

Still, I think anyone can appreciate the scenery painted in this poem even today.

Interestingly, the poetic verse kiri tachinoboru (霧立ち上る) or “the mist is already rising”, was coined by Jakuren and was associated with him by later poets and commentators.

P.S. I’ve been away from the blog for a couple months raising our new little boy and keeping up with holidays. Now that things are finally quieting down, I hope to complete the final 7 poems (aside from this one). I’m still debating on further topics for this blog, and suggestions or requests are always appreciated.

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2 Responses to “Autumn Mist and Rain: Poem 87”

  1. Hope you enjoyed your well-deserved break with your little one. Are you going to do anything from Manyoshu at all?

    • Doug said

      Thanks very much. I hadn’t thought about doing the Manyoshu originally, but that’s a good idea since it is a well-known anthology and a good topic of research in and of itself.

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