Autumn Mist and Rain: Poem 87

Photo by Anton Kudryashov on

It’s been a while, but I wanted to start off with a nice, descriptive poem:

むらさめのMurasame noWhile the raindrops of
露もまだひぬTsuyu mo mada hinuthe passing shower have not yet dried from
まきの葉にMaki no ha ninear the leaves of the evergreens,
霧立ちのぼるKiri tachinoboruthe mist is already rising, on
秋の夕暮Aki no yugurethis evening in autumn.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

This poem was composed by Dharma-master Jakuren (d. 1202) whose name was originally Fujiwara no Sadanaga before he took tonsure. He is a nephew of Shunzei (poem 83) and according to Professor Mostow a leading poets in the house of Mikohidari. He helped to compile the official poetry anthologies at the time, but died before completion.

Professor Mostow points out that Fujiwara no Teika (poem 97), another member of the House of Mikohidari, didn’t praise this poem at first, and it made the “cutting floor” of the Imperial anthology that Jakuren helped compile, the Shin-Kokinshū, or in other anthologies. And yet, years later, it appears here in the Hyakunin Isshu by Fujiwara no Teika. The poem is generally viewed as a simple, straightforward descriptive poem, which is perhaps why it wasn’t as highly revered as other more subtle poems, or poems with more of a backstory.

Still, I think anyone can appreciate the scenery painted in this poem even today.

Interestingly, the poetic verse kiri tachinoboru (霧立ち上る) or “the mist is already rising”, was coined by Jakuren and was associated with him by later poets and commentators.

P.S. I’ve been away from the blog for a couple months raising our new little boy and keeping up with holidays. Now that things are finally quieting down, I hope to complete the final 7 poems (aside from this one). I’m still debating on further topics for this blog, and suggestions or requests are always appreciated.

2 responses to “Autumn Mist and Rain: Poem 87”

  1. Hope you enjoyed your well-deserved break with your little one. Are you going to do anything from Manyoshu at all?

    1. Thanks very much. I hadn’t thought about doing the Manyoshu originally, but that’s a good idea since it is a well-known anthology and a good topic of research in and of itself.

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: