My favorite poem related to fall in the Hyakunin Isshu is this one:
|寂しさに||Sabishisa ni||When, from loneliness|
|宿を立出て||Yado wo tachi idete||I stand up and leave my hut|
|ながむれば||Nagamureba||and look distractedly about:|
|いづこもおなじ||Izuko mo onaji||everywhere it is the same|
|秋の夕暮||Aki no yugure||evening in Autumn.|
The author of this poem is a monk named Ryosen Hōshi (良暹法師, “Dharma Master Ryosen) who supposedly composed it while doing austerities in a remote hut outside the capitol.
The notion of “Autumn Sunset” appears a lot in Japanese poetry, but apparently its meaning differs depending on the time and place. Ryosen Hoshi gives a more melancholy, almost Buddhist, tone implying that the world around him is declining into winter and possibly, metaphorically declining in a general Buddhist sense. However, Sei Shonagon (poem 62) also wrote about Autumn Sunset in her Pillow Book, but used it to describe crows and wild-geese flying
An Autumn Sunset means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but it still is significant one way or another. For me, I tend to like Ryosen’s imagery the best, and it’s the one I imagine whenever I read this poem.
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