Selected Tanka

 

Bokusui Wakayama

朝地震す空はかすかに嵐して一山白きやまざくらばな

A faint morning quake and a subtle foreboding
of a storm in the sky
and white cherry blossoms all over a mountain

 

山奥にひとり獣の死ぬるよりさびしからずや恋の終りは

 

More miserable than
a beast dying a solitary death in the recesses of
the mountains must be a love drawing to an end like this

 

渓(たに)あひのみちはかなしく白樺の白き木立にきはまりにけ

 

The sorrow of a path

making its way all through this deep valley
reaches its apex at
a grove of white birches

 

忘却のかげかさびしきいちにんの人あり旅をながれ渡れ

 

Here is a man
thoroughly solitary –
a shadow of oblivion
drifting one place
to another, flowing on and on

 

妻や子をかなしむ心われと身をかなしむこころ二つながら燃

 

Myself lamenting
my wife and children’s lives and my own,
lamenting body and soul burning side by side

 

石越ゆる水のまろみを眺めつつこころかなしも秋の渓間(たにま)に

 

In this autumn valley
my mind leans to lament
while staring at
the roundness of the river waters going over every stone

 

春白昼ここの港に寄りもせず岬を過ぎて行く船のあり

 

Without calling at
this vernal noonday port
a boat goes on
and on, passing a promontory, receding into the distance

 

 

酒ほしさまぎらはすとて庭に出でつ庭草をぬくこの庭草を

 

To divert myself
from this violent thirst for sake, I go out
to this small garden and weed – O weeds, I’m now all attention

––––Translations by Gregory Dunne and Goro Takano

Tokyo Poetry Journal

topojo2015@gmail.com

Tokyo Poetry Journal
c/o Jeffrey Johnson
English Department, Daito Bunka University
Iwadono 560 Higashimatsuyama-shi
Saitama-ken 355-8501 Japan

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