Changed One’s Life: Poem Number 43

Genji emaki azumaya 2
A scene (AZUMA YA: East Wing) of Illustrated scroll of Tale of Genji (written by MURASAKI SHIKIBU (11th cent.) Courtesy of Wikipedia

I can’t believe it’s been a year since my last series of love poems for Valentine’s Day. But, here we are again! This poem is the first in a series I’ll be posting before Valentine’s Day:

逢ひ見てのAi mite noWhen compared to
後の心にNochi no kokoro nithe feelings in my heart
くらぶればKuraburebaafter we’d met and loved,
むかしは物をMukashi wa mono woI realize that in the past
思はざりけりOmowazari keriI had no cares at all.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

The poet, Fujiwara no Atsutada (906-943), was among the sons of the power minister Fujiwara no Tokihira (the same man who had Sugawara no Michizane exiled, poem 24), and was one of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry, as well as an accomplished poet all-around.

This is a classic “morning-after” poem which we’ve talked about in Poem 50 and Poem 30. The author’s love and longing have increased, not decreased since their first meeting together.

As written before, meeting one’s lover was a huge ordeal among the aristocrats of the Heian Court in Japan. It wasn’t like meeting someone online today, or just going to have coffee together. Men and women were constantly separated from one another, and one would be lucky to catch sight of a woman’s sleeve back then, let alone her face. So, a first meeting required a long, drawn out courtship of exchanging poetry, and somehow arranging a way to meet that wouldn’t catch the public eye. Worse, if the meeting didn’t go well, then it was kind of a wasted effort and breaking up would be awkward as well.

So, when things hit it off so well like this, it’s a cause to celebrate. 🙂

3 responses to “Changed One’s Life: Poem Number 43”

  1. Reblogged this on kuuru. and commented:
    so Chihayafuru 120 has this poem. and this is a very good poem about people in love.
    chihayafuru 119 has me heartbroken D:
    but has Chihaya delighted.
    I’m secretly a Chihaya-Arata shipper but. but but… I like Arata as well 😦

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