Thursday, 12 November 2015

Poems from The Tale of Genji (chapters 1 and 2) - Murasaki Shikibu

“We vowed that we would go together
down the road we all must go. You must not leave me behind.”
“I leave you, to go the road we all must go.
The road I would choose, if only I could, is the other.”

“The autumn night is too short to contain my tears
Though songs of bell cricket weary, fall into silence.”
“Sad are the insect songs among the reeds.
More sadly yet falls the dew from above the clouds.”

“The boyish locks are now bound up, a man’s.
And do we tie a lasting bond for his future?”
“Fast the knot which the honest heart has tied.
May lavender, the hue of the troth, be as fast.”

“I count them over, the many things between us.
One finger does not, alas, count the sum of your failures.”
“I have counted them up myself, be assured, my failures.
For one bitten finger must all be bitten away?”

“Uncommonly fine this house, for moon, for koto.
Does it bring to itself indifferent callers as well?”
“No match the leaves for the angry winter winds.
Am I to detain the flute that joins those winds”

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 973 – c. 1014 or 1025) Japan
Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker

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