The Hyakunin Isshu is full of poems about Autumn as we’ve seen so far, and this is another example:
|月見れば||Tsuki mireba||When I look at the moon|
|千々に物こそ||Chiji ni mono koso||I am overcome by the sadness|
|悲しけれ||Kanashi kere||of a thousand, thousand things—|
|わが身ひとつの||Waga mi hitotsu no||even though it is not Fall|
|秋にはあらねど||Aki ni wa aranedo||for me alone.|
The author, Ōe no Chisato, is the nephew of Yukihira (poem 16) and Narihira (poem 17) and boasted a famous collection of his own called the Kudai Waka.
Similar to poem 22, this poem has influence from Chinese Six Dynasties style, but as Mostow explains, the poem reflects a change where Chinese poetic style is adapted into more native Japanese style. Mostow explains that the poem may allude to a famous poetic line by Bo Juyi.
As mentioned before, the moon plays a really important role in the Hyakunin Isshu, and poetry in general. But also, it’s a source of festivities too. In Japan, the 15th lunar day of the 8th month (harvest moon in the West), marks a fun time called o-tsukimi or “moon-viewing”. More on that in the other blog coming soon.
As for the poem, it kind of expresses a quiet humility too, I think, which is why I always find it one of the most memorable. The Moon inspires a lot of deep feelings, but this poem reminds us that it does not shine just for us.
Happy Moon Viewing everyone!
Leave a Reply