Thursday, July 5, 2012

Otomo no Kuronushi: That Sad, Old Man

Can be found here.
There is little known about Otomo no Kuronushi but he is one of Ki no Tsurayuki's Six Best Waka Poets listed in the preface to the Kokinshuu. He apparently was from Omi in Shiga Prefecture. Since there isn't much information about him out there, there isn't a lot to say. He's a good poet but not as good as Archbishop Henjo. I looked through some of his poetry (it's not so easy to find) and I liked these three the best. I hope you enjoy my translations. 


Breezy spring showers
Feel like falling tears drops,
Sakura blossoms
Fall and scatter and yet
No one seems to care.

Otomo no Kuronushi

I like this poem because the "spring showers" can be read as rain drops or tear drops. The poem could be a lament for the end of spring and the falling cherry blossoms or could be a metaphor for something more interesting. The last line is ambiguous but I hope my translation is alright. 


This photo can be found here along with more pictures of Mt. Mikami

Kagami Mountain,
Well I believe it’s time for me
To pay a visit, but
Has this aged body of mine
Become too old and weak?

Otomo no Kuronushi

"Kagami Mountain" is present day Mikami Mountain in Shiga Prefecture. It was and remains a sacred place nowadays it's more of a tourist attraction. This poem is a lament for his old age.



When I dwell on
Our times of love and passion
The wild goose takes off
Crying, and I cry with it,
Do they know the way home?

Otomo no Kuronushi

This is apparently a sad lament for an old lover.

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