Friday, 18 December 2015

Poems from The Tale of Genji (chapter 44) - Murasaki Shikibu

Ah, cherry blossoms! How one's heart tremhles for them when stormy winds hlow
           although anyone can see they themselves care not at all.

Such flowers as these blossom there before our eyes only to scatter;
           never mind that we have lost. I shall not long hold the grudge.

It is the world's way, that the wind should scatter them, but how sad it is
           to see blossoms fade away even while still on the bough.

Come, wayward petals, who because it pleases you fall beside the lake,
           when you are foam on the waves, even so, do come my way!

You may well scatter on the winds through the wide sky, O cherry hlossoms,
           yet I shall gather you in and enjoy you as my own.

Are those sleeves of yours broad enough to overspread all cherry petals
           and retain their full beauty just for you and no one else?

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 973 – c. 1014 or 1025) Japan
Translated by Royall Tyler
This interchange of poems around the theme of cherry blossoms relates to two sisters' claim to a particular cherry tree in their garden. The first is from the older sister who has just lost in a game of Go, the second is from one of their gentlewomen, then comes the younger sister followed by one of her gentlewomen and then a page girl, and finally a gentlewoman of the older daughter.

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