MYS II: 107

A poem presented by Prince Ōtsu to the Elder Maiden of Ishikawa.

足日木乃 山之四付二 妹待跡 吾立所沾 山之四附二


asipiki no
yama no siduku ni
imo matu to
ware tatinurenu
yama no siduku ni
On the leg-wearying
Mountain, among the droplets
I await my darling, so
Standing there, I’ll be drenched
By the mountain droplets!
A kuzushiji version of the poem's text.
Created with Soan.

2 thoughts on “MYS II: 107”

  1. Thank you for creating this site and continuing to populate it with waka poems. I am developing my interest in this art-form through Saigyo via Basho. I find the translations fascinating since they are subtly different from some of the ones I see in books I own. How wonderful!
    I wondered if you might add the approximate date of the poems when you upload, so I have an idea of the period they were written.
    Thanks again for all your labours of love for this beautiful art form.

    a flickering screen
    moth-like I flutter through pages
    of lives and loves
    those who once walked Mt Yoshino
    teach me now to watch the moon

    1. Thank you for your kind words and comment.

      It’s often difficult to be precise about the dates on which a poem was composed, unless the headnote provides enough contextual information – by mentioning a specific event the date of which is recorded in other sources. For poems by named poets, often the best you can do is see when they were alive and assume that the poem was written at some point in their lifetime once they were adult members of society. We know that Prince Ōtsu, the author of this poem, lived between 663-686, so it was probably written between 680-686.

      Ōtsu was a well-liked prince who was forced to commit suicide after being charged, probably spuriously, with treason to promote the position of Prince Kusakabe (662-689) as a contender for the throne – something which was ultimately unsuccessful as Kusakabe, too, died young. The two princes were not just political rivals: the Elder Maiden of Ishikawa was Kusakabe’s lover, so this poem and others by Ōtsu to her indicate that he was attempting to steal her from him.

      Where possible, though, I will attempt to give some ideas about dates – but if you have questions about specific waka, let me know via the comments and I’ll do my best to respond.

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