No one likes getting rejected. Even back in classical Japan:
|今来むと||Ima kon to||It was only because you said|
|いひしばかりに||Iishi bakari ni||you would come right away|
|長月の||Nagatsuki no||that I have waited|
|有明の月を||Ariake no tsuki wo||these long months, till even|
|待ち出でつるかな||Machi idetsuru ka na||the wan morning moon has come out.|
This poem was composed not by a woman as one would expect, but by a Buddhist priest named Sosei Hōshi (素性法師, “Dharma Master Sosei”, dates unknown) who was the son of Henjō who wrote poem 12. Sosei was a prolific and popular poet and according to Mostow heavily represented in the more official anthology, the Kokin Wakashū. He is also one of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry.
As we’ve seen with other poems from this earlier era, it was common to write about poetry themes, and to write from a role outside one’s own. So, for a monastic to be writing from the perspective of a lonely woman wasn’t unusual.
Mostow explains the contradiction in this poem between the “one long night” and “months” as being an issue of interpretation. Though most people assumed it was a long Autumn night, Fujiwara no Teika, the compiler of the Hyakunin Isshu anthology, felt it was more like a long passage of time.
P.S. Photo above is a Japanese calendar we have a home. More on that in a related post in my other blog.
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