You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘waka’ tag.

春の波

おだやかなれよ

彼岸潮(ひがんしお)

逃げ水ならば

胸痛むまじ

–M.I.

Moving right along in chronological order to the Kokinshu. A few from the Book of Spring.

#11

はるのはじめのうた

みぶのただみね

春きぬと

人はいへども

うぐひすの

なかぬかぎりは

あらじとぞ思ふ

Spring has come-quote

People say-concessive (i.e. “although”)

Warbler’s

Not singing time

Unlikely-quote-think

Poem on the coming of spring.

–Mibuno Tadamine

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.”

— uguisu

#38

むめの花ををりて人におくりける

とものり

君(きみ)ならで

誰(たれ)にか見せむ

梅花(うめのはな)

色をも香(か)をも

しる人ぞしる

You-if not

To whom shall I show

Plum’s blossom

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.