Washed Away: Poem Number 32

Thorp Gristmill Weir
Weir at the Thorp Gristmill in Thorp, WA. A. Balet, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
山川にYama gawa niAh, the weir
風のかけたるKaze no kaketaruthat the wind has flung
しがらみはShigarami waacross the mountain stream
流れもあへぬNagaremo aenuis the autumn foliage that cannot flow on,
紅葉なりけりMomoji narikerieven though it would.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

Harumichi no Tsuraki (d. 920) was a relatively unknown member of the Court who graduated from the Imperial university in 910 and had only a few poems published in the official anthologies. So, it’s somewhat unusual to see such a poem like this one in the Hyakunin Isshu anthology, but as Mostow points out, commentators in the past heavily praised the line “the weir that the wind has flung” (kaze no kaketaru shigarami wa). Fujiwara no Teika, the composer of the Hyakunin Isshu, must have been similarly impressed. A weir, by the way, is a barrier over a river or stream (I had to look it up 😉 ).

Anyhow, nice to see someone get their moment in the sun (let alone poetic history). 🙂

4 responses to “Washed Away: Poem Number 32”

  1. Where is the pronunciation for the last sentence?

    1. Oops, sorry about that. It’s fixed. 🙂

  2. Isn’t yamaGA?

    1. Oof, good catch. Thank you very much. I’ve made the necessary correction.

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