This is the third poem in the series dedicated to Valentine’s Day:
|名にしおはば||Na ni shi owaba||If they bear such names:|
|逢坂山の||Osakayama no||the “come-sleep vine” of|
|さねかづら||Sanekazura||“Meeting-Slope Hill” —|
|人にしられで||Hito ni shirarede||how I wish there was a way to come to you,|
|くるよしもがな||Kuru yoshi mo gana||as if pulling in a vine, unknown to others.|
The poem was composed by Fujiwara no Sadakata (873-932) who was the father of Fujiwara no Asatada (poem 44) and brother of Kanesuke (poem 27). He was a minor poet in the day, whose poetry appeared in a few collections.
In the days of the Heian Court, men and women frequently lived apart and meeting one another was very difficult. Also, traditionally, if they were going to meet, it was the man’s role to meet the woman. Thus poetry was a very useful means of expressing one’s love, arranging meetings, etc. Here Sadakata uses the image of a vine pulling his lover to him (rather than him visiting her), but also a lot of clever word-play. The name of the place, Ōsaka (逢坂, no relation to the modern city) can mean “meeting place-hill”, while the name of the vine, sanekazura (Kadsura japonica), has the words sa ne in there, meaning “come, sleep!” according to Professor Mostow. Lastly, the word kuru can mean either “come” or to “reel in”.
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