Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Poems from The Tale of Genji (chapter 49) - Murasaki Shikibu

"When I went too pluck for our august Sovereign's hair wisteria blossoms,
       ah, how far above my head was the branch that caught my sleeves"

"Flowers such as these will grace the world with their scent for ten thousand years,
       and so their hue today will ever be a pleasure."

"Blossoms such as these, plucked to grace our Sovereign's hair, to the wondering eye
      offer in present vision beauty of the purple clouds"

"Nothing in their hue calls to mind the common world, for unto the skies
      in a mighty surge they rise, these wisteria blossom waves!"

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 973 – c. 1014 or 1025) Japan
Translated by Royall Tyler
This interchange of poems is set during an official poetry session in the presence of the emperor. These four poems vie with one another to celebrate the Emperor's splendour (the second is his reply to the first). In sequence they are:
  1. From his new son-in-law, the Commander
  2. The Emperor's reply
  3. From His Excellency, the Minister of the Right
  4. From the Inspector Grand Counsellor (who had wanted to be married to the Emperor's daughter, so was put out)
The allusion to the branch in poem (2) is the Emperor's daughter, and the purple clouds in poem (4) relate to the entry into Amida's paradise

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.