Moving right along in chronological order to the Kokinshu. A few from the Book of Spring.
|Spring has come-quote
People say-concessive (i.e. “although”)
Not singing time
Poem on the coming of spring.
Although they say
That spring has come
Until I hear
The warbler’s song
I don’t believe their words
*An uguisu is a Japanese bush warbler, a kind of secretive songbird whose distinct mating call can be heard in early spring. I have seen it translated as nightingale, but there is a fundamental problem with this: uguisu primarily sings during the day.
*あらじ is probably the copular ari + the negative speculative particle ji. So literally something like “I think not.”
To whom shall I show
Color and fragrance
People who know, know
On sending someone a plucked plum blossom
–(Ki no) Tomonori
To whom but you
Shall I show this plum blossom
Its fragrance and its blush
You know them all too well!
* I translate 色 as “blush” because of a slight erotic connotation that iro carries, associated with this earthly world of form, in Buddhist thought. Also, apparently in the Tendai meditation manual (Makashikan 摩訶止観), 色and 香 are used to signify this world of form.
*Umenohana was also a very popular incense at the time.
So there is quite a bit of uncertainty about the meaning here. It seems that there are a number of possible interpretations. Among them: one, literal. Two, with a highly sexual connotation. Three, as a reference to incense. Perhaps there are shades of multiple ones.