Wordless hues

En’yū also indulges in some elaborate wordplay here, using the phrase iFanu iro 言はぬ色 (literally ‘colours which do not speak’), which I’ve translated as ‘wordless hues’. By association, this is a subtle reference to kutinasi 梔子iro: a yellowish-orange shade which globeflowers could be, given that kutinasi could also be read as meaning kuti nasi ‘without a mouth’.

The message in the poem is: ‘We are not at court, so there’s no one to spread rumours (unless you do it…)’

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