Twin Peaks: Poem Number 13


The second poem in our series devoted to Valentine’s Day is this one:

筑波嶺のTsukuba ne noLike the Mina River
峰より落つるMine yori otsuruthat falls from the peak
みなの川Minano-gawaof Mount Tsukuba
恋ぞつもりてKoi zo tsumoriteso my longing has collected
淵となりぬるFuchi to naru nuruand turned into deep pools.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

According to commentaries, the poem, composed by Emperor Yōzei, was intended for “the princess of Tsuridono” who was Emperor Kōkō’s daughter. Sadly, Emperor Yōzei is better known for his severe mental instability in later years, and his other poetry was seldom never published.

Nevertheless, the analogy of Mount Tsukuba, pictured above, was an excellent choice. The mountain is famous in Japanese culture, especially for the two peaks: one called nantai (男体, “Man”) on the western side, and nyotai (女体, “Woman”) on the eastern side. It was a frequent topic used in love poetry back in the day. Even today, it is a very popular destination for tourists and nature lovers.

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