The mountain ‘tween brief nights

The original poem, refers to an actual place name saya no nakayama (小夜の中山 ), which was an actual place on the road between the capital and the eastern provinces, where the trail passed along a ridge with deep valleys on either side, the ‘brief nights’.

The implication in the poem is that the poet has been left to travel on alone, abandoned by his travelling companion, so he alone sees the moon here. The place name is, of course, used as it contains the sense of ‘night’ and hence reinforces the reference to the moon.

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