Nostalgia: Poem Number 84

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This is kind of a cool, unusual poem to find in the Hyakunin Isshu, but something we can all appreciate:

ながらへばNagaraebaIf I live on longer,
またこの頃やMata kono koro yashall I again, I wonder,
しのばれむShinobarenyearn for these days?
憂しと見し世ぞUshi to mishi yo zoThe world that I once saw as
今は恋しきIma wa koishikibitter, now, is dear to me.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

This poem was composed by Fujiwara no Kiyosuke (1104-1177) who was the second son of Fujiwara no Akisuke (poem 79). Professor Mostow states that Kiyosuke disagreed with his father and the Rokujo School of poetry that he established, but ended up becoming head of the school anyway.

At heart, this poem is about nostalgia, how bitter things now somehow soften over time. Everyone can think of a bitter time in their life, but looking back nostalgia makes it seem sweeter than it was back then. It’s also a reminder that if we are going through a hard time now, it won’t always be that way in the future.

In a concrete sense, Professor Mostow points out that some commentators think this may have alluded to the decline of the times, and in particular the Hōgen Rebellion, mentioned also in poem 76 and poem 77, and poem 86.

But even if that were true, it’s interesting how we tend to look back on this era with a kind of bitter-sweet nostalgia, far removed from the pain and destruction caused at the time.

One response to “Nostalgia: Poem Number 84”

  1. Reblogged this on kuuru..

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