The Autumn Wind: Poem Number 71

Rice fields in Chiba prefecture, taken while aboard a moving train in 2019 by author

Another great poem for Autumn:

夕さればYu surebaAs evening falls,
門田の稲葉Kadota no inabathrough the rice-plants before the gate,
おとづれてOtozureteit comes visiting, and rustling
あしのまろやにAshi no maroya nion the reeds of the simple hut—
秋風ぞふくAkikaze zo fukuthe autumn wind does blow!
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

The poet, Dainagon Minamoto no Tsunenobu (1016-1097), had a number of poets in his family. He was the father of Toshiyori (poem 74) and grandfather of Shun’e (poem 85), contributed a number of poems to the official anthologies and had a rival or two in his time.

According to Mostow, this poem was composed by Tsunenobu when he was visiting the villa of his friend, Minamoto no Morokata. Unlike other poems of the era which are often composed for poetry contests, apparently he composed this while watching the view from the villa. The villa in question was in a place called Umezu (梅津), on the outskirts of Kyoto the capital. Nowadays, you can find Umezu within the suburbs of Kyoto now, but it’s interesting to imagine an earlier time when it was a country villa surrounded by rice fields, and to imagine a cold autumn wind blowing across them.

This poem catches the spirit of autumn better than many others, I feel. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: