Happy Spring Everyone! Poem Number 61

Cherry blossoms at the University of Washington in 2022, taken by author

Sorry for the lengthy hiatus everyone. Been a long couple of weeks, but I am excited to post this poem in honor of women poets this month, and timely because of the coming of spring:

いにしへのInishie noThe eight-petalled cherries
奈良の都のNara no miyako nofrom the Nara capital
八重桜Yae-zakuraof the ancient past
今日九重にKyo kokonoe nitoday nine layers thick
匂ひぬるかなNioi nuru kanahave bloomed within your court!
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

Lady Ise no Tayū, was another lady in waiting for Empress Shoshi, as was Lady Murasaki (poem 57) and Lady Izumi (poem 56), but was the newbie apparently.

According to Lady Ise no Tayū’s own diary, she had to present a poem on the fly to the Bishop from the ancient capital of Nara and its Buddhist institutions, who had brought a lovely eight-petaled cherry blossom as a gift. Empress Shoshi’s father, Fujiwara no Michinaga, had asked Lady Murasaki to do it, but she deferred to Lady Ise no Tayū because she was new.

Thankfully, her poem was a success. As Professor Mostow notes, it does a really nice job balancing the “ancient” with the modern, and the eight petals of the blossom with the metaphorical nine-layers of the Imperial court.

No wonder she made the inner-circle of Empress Shoshi. 🙂

Happy Spring everyone!

P.S. Nara is a pretty awesome place to visit in Japan, definitely recommend.

2 responses to “Happy Spring Everyone! Poem Number 61”

  1. Beautiful, thank you very much!

    1. Hello Toma wo arami and welcome! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

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