Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro

(662 - 710 / Japan)

As a mat of creepers


As a mat of creepers,
Is the sea at Iwami;
Amongst the mangled words of
Kara Point,
Upon the reefs
Grows the algae thickly;
On the rocky shoreline,
Grows the jeweled seaweed;
Soft as jeweled seaweed
Trembling, lay my girl;
Lush as thick green algae,
The love within my heart, but
The nights when we slept thus
Were not so very many;
Like trailing ivy
Are we parted and as I came away,
Gut wrenching
Pain within my heart
Is all I felt, and
Though I look back
On the mighty prow
Of Watari Mountain-
Its yellowed leaves
Scattering in confusion-
My darling’s sleeves,
I cannot see them clearly-
As on spouse-concealing
Yakami
Mountain
Through the cloud breaks
Appears the drifting moon-
And when, to my regret,
Those sleeves had vanished
The heaven-calling
Setting sun shone out, so
A brave man,
As I did think myself,
Spread barken cloth
Robe’s sleeves
All wet through.

Submitted: Monday, September 06, 2010

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