Catch Me If You Can: Poem Number 72

Photo by Skyler Sion on

This is a more light-hearted poem in contrast to the previous one:

音にきくOto ni kikuKnown far and wide,
高師の浜のTakashi no hama nothe unpredictable waves
あだ浪はAdanami waof Takashi’s beach—
かけじや袖のKakeji ya sode noI will not let them catch me—
ぬれもこそすれNure mo koso sureFor I’d be sorry should my sleeves get wet!
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

The author of this poem is only known as “Kii of Princess Yūshi’s Household” (dates unknown). She served in the household of Imperial Princess Yūshi, and was the daughter of Taira no Tsunekata and one Lady Koben. The salon of Princess Yūshi included a number of poets and writers and it seems Kii was no exception. She participated in a number of poetry contests and her poems appear in various anthologies.

Speaking of contests, Professor Mostow explains that this poem actually was intended as a response to another poem in a competition held by Retired Emperor Horikawa. Kii was 70 years old at the time according to another source, which is impressive given that she expresses young love so easily after all these years.

But where is Takashi beach? I checked and it seems to be a famous beach in Osaka Bay, near modern-day Takaishi City in the Osaka Metropolitan Area.

Interesting fact: the other poem she was responding to, was written by none other than the grandfather of Fujiwara no Teika (poem 97), who is the compiler of the Hyakunin Isshu anthology. Interesting how things tie together the way they do. 🙂

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