KKS VI: 340

A poem from a poetry contest held by Her Majesty, the Empress, in the Kanpyō period.

雪ふりて年のくれぬる時こそつひにもみぢぬ松も見えけれ

yuki Furite
tosi no kurenuru
toki ni koso
tsuFi ni momidinu
matu mo miekere
Snow falls and
The year comes to an end,
It is at this time that
Truly, evergreen
The pine tree seems.

Anonymous

3 thoughts on “KKS VI: 340”

  1. I have been going through this poem with WWWJDIC and the Weblio kobun-jiten to try and understand it at the word level, and I wanted to ask you a couple of questions. If this is not something you have time or interest in answering, or if it does not fit with the purpose of the site, please feel free to reject this and the following comment.

  2. Regardingくれぬる/時にこそ — is くれぬる the present perfect form of くれ (end / year’s end)? So are the second and third lines together something like “especially at this time when the year has come to an end” ?

    For けれ in 見えけれ, Weblio has this entry:
    過去の助動詞「けり」の已然形 (The realis/perfective form of the old Japanese helper verb けり)
    I didn’t know anything about this verb form. Does the realis form 〜見えけれ have the sense of “clearly it is the case that X” or “it is already the case that X” or something like that?

    1. Yes, your understanding of the strictly grammatical sense of the second and third lines is correct.

      -keri is in its izenkei form here because of the presence of the emphatic marker koso. There are a number of particle which, if used, required the sentence to end in the izenkei form, rather than the standard shūshikei. You can find more information on this if you look up kakarimusubi 係り結び in a premodern grammar. The use of izenkei is purely a matter of syntactic agreement, not semantics, so in this context miekere is identical in sense to miekeri. Keri is being used here to add an extra note of assertion to the final statement, the nuance being ‘this is true and based on evidence’, so the poem implies ‘there are good reasons for the pine tree appearing to be evergreen’, as an unspoken invitation for the reader to think about what those reasons may be and delve deeper into the image that the poet has provided.

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