Getting Old: Poem Number 34

A sacred pine tree at Takasago Shrine, photo by , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A nice reminder about getting older is poem number 34:

誰をかもTare o ka moWhom, then, shall I have
知る人にせむShiru hito ni senas someone who knows me—
高砂のTakasago nosince even the ancient pines
松もむかしのMatsu mo mukashi noof Takasago
友ならなくにTomo nara naku niare not friends from my past.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

Takasago is a famous city on Harima Bay in Japan, in what is now modern-day Hyōgo Prefecture, and is known for its ancient pine forests. Takasago is also mentioned in poem 71 as well. The most famous, sacred pine there is the aioi no matsu (相生の松) at Takasago Shrine, which has been growing since the temple’s foundation. The pine trunk splits into two, and thus has become a symbol of marital harmony between husband and wife.

Fujiwara no Okikaze was one of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry (sanjūrokkasen, 三十六歌仙) according to Mostow, but details of his life, including birth and death, are not known.

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