Category Archives: Personal Collections

Ise Shū 12

The man said, ‘If you despise me so, then I shall go to Yoshino?’


Fitasura ni
mono naraba
yosino no yama ni
yukuwe sirarezi
So completely
Am I to be despised-
If ’tis true, then
On the mount of Yoshino
I’ll find a place and tell no one!

The Posthumous Grand Minister, [Fujiwara no Tokihira] (871-909)

Ise Shū 11

Her reply:


yo no tune no
Fito no kokoro wo
mada mineba
nani ka kono tabi
kienubeki mono wo
This world’s
Men’s ways, I
Don’t yet know, so
All that has happened,
It seems, will never fade from my thoughts

Ise Shū 10

The man’s elder brother said, ‘Why won’t you come to me? Is it that you remember his cruelty?’


Fitaburu ni
omoFi na wabi so
Fito no kokoro Fa
sore zo yo no tune
Do not grieve over thoughts of that love;
Your former
Lover’s ways are but
Those of this world!

Ise Shū 9

At around this time, there came a message from the palace of the consort who had borne His Majesty children, and her father said to her, ‘Leave matters alone and go up to the palace! I thought I had sent you into Imperial service. Did I send you to His Lordship? No, I did not!’, and she felt so ashamed she felt she would die.

So, she went up to the palace and, when she was performing her duties, the man sent her many letters suggesting that they meet, but she would have none of it; the man’s elder brother said, ‘Is he now requesting to become your husband? Oh, how immature of him! Think of me, instead!’, but only letters went back and forth between them. They did not meet. While this was going on, the original man heard about how things were. The woman had a beautiful garden before her residence and, as a diversion was twining miscanthus grass around her fingers; seeing this, the first man composed:


Fana susuki
ware koso Fukaku
Fo ni idete Fito ni
As miscanthus grass
Deeply did I
Court her;
Now, ’tis plain to see that with another
Is she entwined.

When he said to her, ‘I’ve heard there’s something going on,’ she replied, ‘Why should something like that occur to a miserable creature like me? Were it to be anything, I should think it would be with you!’, with such a relaxed air about her that he was deeply moved. However, she would not meet with him and sent him on his way.

Ise Shū 8

On the way back, she lodged at place called Koshibe. Remembering how the temple had moved her, she composed:


mi mo Fatezu
sora ni kienade
kagiri naku
itoFu uki yo ni
mi no kaFerikuru
Cut short,
I will not vanish into the skies;
No end to
The loathsome, hurtful world to which
I am returning.

to herself, and shed so many tears she had to wring out her sleeves.

Ise Shū 7

When she had been in Yamato for about three months, she went to a temple called Ryûmon. This was around the eleventh day of the First Month. The site of the temple was such that it seemed the waterfall from amongst the clouds. The places the holy men called home were ancient in the extreme: perched atop the crags with the moss hanging in eightfold beards from them. Struck by completely unfamiliar emotions, she found the place moving in the extreme, and the tears she shed put the waterfall to shame. She had stopped for a moment upon the bridge when it suddenly turned extremely dark. ‘Is it going to rain?’ asked one of her companions. ‘It’s snow that will fall,’ replied the monks and, at that moment, the sky turned murky with an enormous snowfall; the party said to each other, ‘Shall we compose poems?’, so Ise composed:


kinu kisi Fito mo
naki mono wo
nani yama Fime no
nuno sarasuramu
Uncut and unsewn
Were the clothes those folk wore;
Gone now,
So why should the mountain’s princess
Bleach her cloth?


Ise Shū 6

The lady’s reply:


watatu umi to
tanomesi koto no
ware zo wa ga mi ni
ura Fa uramuru
As the boundless main,
As constant were your words to me, and
As shallow, so
‘Tis I, yes I, who
Is beached upon regret!

Ise Shū 4

The Biwa Minister’s reply:


morokosi no
yosino no yama ni
komoru tomo
omoFamu Fito ni
ware okureme ya
As distant as Cathay,
Upon the mount of Yoshino
You may seclude yourself, yet
‘Tis one who loves you,
I, who is abandoned, am I not?

This poem was composed in reply by the man, and sent from Narasaka.

Ise Shū 3

At around the time this man married elsewhere, thinking he would no longer visit her, she decided to spend some time in Yamato, where she had lived before, and sent this to him:


miwa no yama
ika ni matimimu
tosi Fu tomo
tadunuru Fito mo
arazi to omoFeba
On the mount of Miwa
Why should I wait
Years may pass, yet
Would you come enquiring-
I think not!