Two poems by Yamanoue no Okura, composed on the flowers of the autumn fields.
aki no no ni sakitaru pana wo oyobi ori kakikazopureba nanakusa no pana In the autumn fields Blooming are the flowers: On my fingers I do count them out, and Seven plants have blooms.
Yamanoue no Okura
In this video I provide some background information on how the old Japanese conducted love affairs, and the role poetry played in them. In addition, I discuss how some of the features of (pre)modern Japanese pose challenges for the translator of waka.
tada naraji to bakari tataku kuina yue akete wa ika ni kuyashikaramashi It is not so easy, I think – But briefly knocking at my door was A water rail: Opening to it, how Deep would be my regret …
yomosugara kuina yori keni naku naku zo maki no toguchi ni tataki wabitsuru All night long Cries the water rail, but even more Did I weep and weep again At your cedar door I knocked, but found only grief!
Fujiwara no Michinaga
Alexis Lours, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons