GSIS XIX: 1155

When the governor of Michinoku, [Tachibana no] Norimitsu was a Chamberlain, and she wanted to let him know that they were finished, she retired to her home, saying, ‘If people ask, don’t tell them where I am.’ When he sent back to her, saying, ‘What am I to do if people demand to know-as your husband I should know, surely?’ she bundled up some seaweed and sent it to him. Norimitsu didn’t understand and came to her, asking, ‘What on earth do you think you are doing?’. So she composed this poem.


ama no arika wo
soko nari to
yume iFu na to ya
me wo kuFaseken
‘When beneath the waves,
The fisher-folk may be found
At the bottom there!’
Tell no one at all-
Eat the seaweed-will you see the signs, I wonder!

Sei Shōnagon

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