Regretting the Day of the Rat
mu ne no hi o o shimo nukaneba midare’otsuru namida no tama ni katsu zo kechitsuru The fire within my breast Will not thread upon a string, but My disorderly dripping Gemstone tears will Yet extinguish it.
kuraki yo ni tomosu hotaru no mu ne no hi o o shimo toketaru tama ka zo zo miru On a night so dark, The kindled fireflies of The fire within my breast; Loosened from their string As scattered gemstones they appear.
A summer poem, from a hundred poem sequence.
momoshiki no tama no migiri no mikawamizu magau hotaru mo hikari soekeri A hundredfold the palace walls, Where jewels by the edges of Moat waters Tangle with the fireflies Trailing lights.
samidare ni kusa no iori wa kuzuredomo hotaru to naru zo ureshikarikeru In the early summer rain Grassy lodgings Wither away, yet That they turn to fireflies Brings me joy.
Ōe no Masafusa
aki no yo ni kari kamo nakite watarunaru wa ga omou hito no kotozute ya seru On an autumn night Is that the geese a’crying As they pass by? There is one I love— Would you take a message to her?
oku tsuyu ni kuchiyuku nobe no kusa no ha ya aki no hotaru to nariwataruramu Dew falls on The rotting meadows, where The blades of grass with The tired autumn fireflies Do seem to sound…
 A minor variant of this poem is included in Gosenshū ( VII: 356), where it is attributed to [Ki no] Tsurayuki.
 This poem is included in Fubokushō (5548), where it is attributed to [Mibu no] Tadamine.
hamachidori aki to shinareba asagiri ni kata madowashite nakanu hi zo naki The plovers on the beach: When the autumn comes, In the morning mists Do lose their way; No day dawns without their cries…
aki kureba miyamazato koso wabishikere yoru wa hotaru o tomoshibi ni shite When the autumn comes My hut deep in the mountains Is lonelier by far; At night with fireflies For my lantern.
 This poem also appears as Fubokushō 5545 where is it is listed as by Ōe no Chisato
aretaru yado no
tamakura no tsuyu How brief it was!
In a ruined dwelling
The dewdrops on my pillowing arm…
A Servant Girl.
sawa no hotaru wa
yoi no inazuma All together have
The fireflies above the marsh
Lost their light;
Lightning at the dusk…
The Right state that they have no criticisms of the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the suitability of fireflies disappearing in the autumn.
Shunzei feels, ‘The Left’s poem is certainly charming in form and expression, but more thought should have been given to the initial phrase “How brief it was!” (
hakanashi ya). The Right’s poem, too, is charming, and as for fireflies being a topic for summer poetry alone, in autumn it is acceptable to compose on the failing of their light, is it not? Did not Anjin compose “Fireflies flashing on the palace stairs and gates/Crickets crying from the eaves and tiles”? There is also the example from the Collection of Songs to Sing Aloud of “Seeking cuckoo calls in the dawntime clouds/Innumerable fireflies flit among the autumn grasses”. Still, the Left’s “dewdrops on my pillowing arm” wins, I think.’
ashi no ya ni
hotaru ya magau
ama ya taku
omoi mo koi mo
yoru wa moetsutsu In a reed-roofed hut,
One might mistake for fireflies, or
Fisherfolk’s kindled fires
The passion and the love, that
Burns in me throughout the night.