KKS IX: 411

When they arrived at the banks of the Sumida River, between the provinces of Musashi and Shimotsūsa, they thought fondly of the capital and, dismounting for a while on the river bank, they thought sadly about how far they had come. While they were gazing into space, the ferryman said, “Get on the boat quickly! The sun is going down.” So, they boarded and were about to set off, each one thinking miserably about someone he had left in the capital, when they saw a white bird with a red bill and legs splashing about in the river shallows. As it was a bird never seen in the capital, none of them could say what it was, so they asked the ferryman, and he replied that it was a miyakodori (capital bird); hearing this, Narihira composed the following:


na ni si oFaba
iza koto toFamu
wa ga omoFu Fito Fa
ari ya nasi ya to
If your name fits you,
There’s something I would ask,
O, Capital bird:
Is the lady in my thoughts
Still quite safe?

Ariwara no Narihira

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