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The Poems of Fujiwara no Teika

a collation of English translations by various translators of waka poems by the major classical Japanese court poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241)

Biographies:, Wikipedia

Akeba mata
aki no nakaba mo
suginu beshi
katabuku tsuki no
oshiki nomi ka wa
Day will dawn,
and we will pass beyond
the mid-point of fall.
But will the setting moon
be all that we lament?

SCSS 261; “Written for a 50-poem sequence of “moon” poems, composed at the time when the Go-Kyōgoku Regent was Captain of the Left” pg13 of Haiku before haiku: from the Renga masters to Bashō, translated by Steven Carter2011 ISBN 978-0-231-52706-4

koyoi bakari ya
makura sadamenu; tanomekoshi
yume no tadachi wa
utsutsu nite
If only for this one night,
let us share a pillow.
Till now I relied
on the straight path of my dreams
as reality.

pg203, Carter Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology

kesa mo izuru
nono no yamabito; chihayaburu
kamo no miare no
michinobe ni
This morning again they emerge—
the mountain folk of Ono.
From mighty Kamo,
the Miare Procession
going down the road.

pg202, Carter

kore ya ikoma no
mine nara; yuki to mietaru
hana no hayashi wa
So, this is what
I have heard about—the peak
of Ikoma Mountain.
What had looked to me like snow—
it was a grove of blossoms!

pg202, Carter

hosanu magaki no
fuyu no shirigiku; hatsushigure
haruru hikage mo
Near the bamboo fence,
white winter chrysanthemums.
Season's first showers
clear—though by then the sunshine
has faded away.

pg202, Carter

waga mi yo ni
furu to mo nashi no
nagame shite
iku harukaze ni
hana no chiruran
While I gazed out,
barely conscious that I too
was growing old,
how many times have blossoms
scattered on the spring wind?

pg201-202, Carter

maneku tote
kusa no tamoto no
kai mo araji
towarenu  sato no
furuki magaki wa
Wave though they may,
those sleeve-like plumes of grass
can do no good—
at a house no one visits,
by an old bamboo fence.

pg201, Carter

yo to tomo ni
fukiage no hama no
shiokaze ni
nabiku masago no
kudakete zo omou
Age after age
the sea breeze on the beach
at Windblown Strand
has dashed sand against the shore
to be shattered—like my heart.

pg 201, Carter

kino kyo
kumo no hatate ni
nagamu tote
mi mo senu hito no
omoi ya wa shiru
Yesterday, today,
I have spent gazing afar
at banners of cloud;
but how can one I've never met
know I was thinking of her?

pg201, Carter

shirotae no
sode no wakare ni
tsuyu ochite
mi ni shimu iro no
akikaze zo fuku
When we parted,
dewdrops fell down on my sleeves
of pure white hemp—
your coldness harsh as the hue
of the piercing autumn wind.

pg199, Carter

kaerusa no
mono to ya hito no
matsu yo nagara no
ariake no tsuki
After his tryst,
he too may be looking up
on his way back home—
while for me a night of waiting
ends with the dawn moon.

pg198-199, Carter

tabibito no
sode fukikaesu
akikaze ni
yube sabishiki
yama no kakehashi
With the autumn wind
turning back the flowing sleeves
of a traveler,
how lonely in evening light
is the bridge above the gorge!

pg198, Carter

ozora wa
mume no nioi ni
kumori mo hatenu
haru no yo no tsuki
Through the wide heavens
the scent of plum blossoms moves
like a spreading haze;
but still not clouded over
is the moon of this spring night.

pg196, Carter

mume no hana
nioi o utsusu
sode no ue ni
noki moru tsuki no
kage zo arasou
Blossoms of plum
perfume my sleeves with their scent,
vying there for space
with shafts of sparkling moonlight
spilling down through the eaves.

pg196-196, Carter

shimo mayou
sora ni shioreshi
karigane no
kaeru tsubasa ni
harusame zo furu
Weary wild geese who came
through skies once chilled by frost
now head back north—
and on their departing wings
fall the soft rains of spring.

pg197, Carter

kasumi ka wa
hana uguisu ni
haru ni komoteru
yado no akebono
Only the haze?
No, by blossoms and warblers
it is held fast—
as I too am bound by spring
in my house, at break of day.

pg195, Carter

hitotose o
asatoide ni
usuyuki koru
sabishisa no hate
After a full year
of gazing out, one morning
I open my door—
to a thin snowfall, frozen—
the far edge of loneliness.

pg195, Carter

yasurai ni
idenishi mama no
tsuki no kage
waga namida nomi
sode ni matedomo
He seemed reluctant
to take his leave of me then,
in the same moonlight
that shines in tears on these sleeves,
still awaiting his return.

pg196, Carter

shinobe to ya
shiranu mukashi no
aki o hete
onaji katami ni
nokoru tsukikage
"Think of the past!"—
so the moonlight seems to say,
itself a remnant
of autumns long since gone,
that I could never know.

Carter, pg 194

maboroshi yo
yume to mo iwaji
yo no naka wa
kakute kikimiru
hakanasa zo kore
An apparition!
Don't even call it a dream.
In this world of ours,
what we hear about, what see
as transience—this is it!

Carter, pg 195

toshi furedo
kokoro no haru wa
yoso nagara
akebono no sora
Another year gone by
And still no spring warms my heart,
It's nothing to me
But now I am accustomed
To stare at the sky at dawn.

pg 663 of Keene1999 Keene, Donald (1999), Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-11441-9

mochizuki no
koro wa tagawanu
sora naredo
kieken kumo no
yukue kanashi na
Just as he desired,
A full moon was in the sky
When he passed away,
But how sad to trace the cloud
To the place where it vanished.

1190, on the death of Saigyo; pg633, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

Kimi ga yo ni
Kasumi o wakeshi
Ashitazu no
Sara ni sawabe no
Ne o ya nakubeki.
In our Lord's gracious reign,
Will I still have cause to cry aloud
As cries the crane
That now stalks desolate in reedy marshes
Far from its former cloudland of spring haze?

pg 97 of Brower1978 Brower, Robert H. (1978), Translation of Fujiwara Teika’s Hundred-Poem Sequence of the Shoji Era, 1200, Sophia University, ASIN B0006E39K8

Ashitazu no
Kumoji mayoishi
Toshi kurete
Kasumi o sae ya
Now that the year
Has closed in which it lost its way
Upon the cloudland path,
Must the crane still be kept apart
Even from the haze of a new spring?

pg 46 of Brower1972

 Michinobe no
Nohara no yanagi
Aware nageki no
Under the willows
In the field by the roadside
The young sprouts burgeon
In competition as to which,
Alas, has most to bewail.

pg 100, Keene1989; from a palace competition, 13th day, 2nd month, 1220

Takasago no
Matsu to miyako ni
Kotozute yo
Onoe no sakura
Ima sakari nari.
Tell it in the capital:
That like the steadfast pine trees
On Takasago's sands,
At Onoe the cherries on the hilltops
Wait in the fullness of their bloom.

pg 47 of Brower1978, Fujiwara Teika’s Hundred-Poem Sequence of the Shoji Era, 1200: A Complete Translation, with Introduction and Commentary

Haru no oru
Hana no nishiki no
Tatenuki ni
Midarete asobu
Sora no itoyu
The playful sky
Tangles threads of gossamer haze
Among warp and weft
Of the brocade that Spring
Weaves from cherry flowers.

pg49, Brower1978

Yube yori
Aki to wa kanete
Tsuki ni odoroku
Sora no iro kana.
Although forewarned
When I first gazed upon the sky
At this day's dusk,
I was startled by the altered color
Wrought by autumn in the moon.

pg69, Brower1978

Shirotae no
Koromo shideutsu
Hibiki yori
Okimayou shimo no
Iro ni izuran.
Has the clear echo
Of the fullers' mallets pounding clothes
Of pure white linen
Become embedded in the color
Of the frost that settles everywhere?

pg72, #52, Brower1978

Shika bakari
Chigirishi naka mo
Kono yo ni hito o
Tanomikeru kana.
So strong were
Our pledges, yet between us
All has changed;
In this world, in her
Did I put my trust...

pg 81 of Brower1978?

Nami no oto ni
Uji no satobito
Yoru sae ya
Netemo ayauki
Yume no ukihashi.
Rising from the river,
Does the roar of waves break in upon the sleep
Of the Uji villagers,
So that even at night their way is perilous
Across the floating bridge of dreams?

pg 94, #88; Brower1978

takayama no
mine fuminarasu
tora no ko no
noboran michi no
sue zo harukeki
The path taken by
The tiger cub as it climbs
With powerful tread
To the mountain peak stretches
Far out into the distance.

from an 1191 regent/PM Fujiwara Yoshitsune 100-verse poetry gathering on ten themes including ‘animals’, ‘birds’, and ‘insects’, whose career the poem presumably is praising; pg665, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

oozora wa
ume no nioi ni
kumori mo hatenu
haru no yo no tsuki
The wide heavens are
Misted over with the scent
Of the plum blossoms:
The moon of a night in spring
Not quite obscured by the clouds.

50-poem sequence in 1197, at the request of the Cloistered Prince Shukaku; pg667, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

shimo mayou
sora ni shioreshi
karigane no
kaeru tsubasa ni
harusame zo furu
Spring rain is falling
On the wings of the wild geese
As they return north,
Wings that drooped when they struggled
Through a sky laden with frost.

50-poem sequence in 1197, at the request of the Cloistered Prince Shukaku; pg667, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

tsukihi hete
aki no konoha wo
fuku kaze ni
yayoi no yume zo
itodo furiyuku
The months and days pass,
And in the wind that blows through
The leaves of autumn,
The dream of the third month slips
Farther and farther away.

on the death of Fujiwara Yoshitsune in spring 1206; pg668, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

Ikoma yama
arashi mo aki no
iro ni fuku
tezome no ito no
yoru zo kanashiki
At Mount Ikoma
Even the storm winds blow
The color of autumn:
How sad to twist together
Thread I have dyed with my hands.

from a 100-poem sequence on “famous places”, drawing on a Man’yoshu poem; pg669, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

sayaka ni mo
mirubeki yama wa
wa ga mi no hoka mo
haru no yo no tsuki
The mountain should be
Brilliantly clear, but tonight
It is mist-covered;
The moon of a night in spring
Has no connection with me

13th day of 2nd month of 1220, poetry competition by Cloistered Emperor Gotoba, on the anniversary of Teika’s mother’s death; he refused to go but the emperor insisted and Teika expressed his resentment in his poetry, prompting the final break between them; pg670, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

michinobe no
nohara no yanagi
shita moenu
aware nageki no
kemuri kurabe ni
Alongside the road,
The willows of the meadows
Have sprouted below.
Alas, which of us will win
This test of burgeoning grief?

13th day of 2nd month of 1220, poetry competition by Cloistered Emperor Gotoba, on the anniversary of Teika’s mother’s death; he refused to go but the emperor insisted and Teika expressed his resentment in his poetry, prompting the final break between them; pg671, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

niou yori
haru wa kureyuku
yamabuki no
hana koso hana no
naka ni tsurakere
As soon as it blooms
The spring approaches its end:
The yamabuki
Flowers are the most disliked
By all the other flowers.

pg672-673, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

ikeru yo ni
somuku no mi koso
asu to mo matanu
oi no inochi wa
I am delighted
I could desert the world while
I was still alive.
An old man's life is so unsure
He cannot wait the morrow.

1236? after taking vows as a priest following his daughter becoming a Buddhist nun, Minamoto Ienaga sent Teika a mourning poem (“Sleeves layered on sleeves / All of them dyed inky black—/ How sad that the world, / Deserted by one, is now / Deserted by another”) and Teika replied; pg673, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

Kagetsu Hyakushu (One Hundred Poems on Blossoms and the Moon)

Hundred-verse sequence competition organized by regent & prime minister Fujiwara Yoshitsune in autumn 1190, presumably dedicated to the memory of Saigyo, who wrote on cherry blossoms & the moon constantly.

hana no ka wa
kaoru bakari wo
yukue tote
kaze yori tsuraki
yuuyami no sora
Only the fragrance,
Still pervasive, indicates
Where the blossoms went:
The dark of the evening sky
Is harder to bear than the wind.

pg664, Keene, Seeds in the Heart


The Senzaiwakashû, 7th imperial collection, edited by Teika’s father, Shunzei

sigure yuku
yomo no kozuwe no
iro yori mo
aki Fa yuFube no
kaFaru narikeri
Touched by drizzling rain,
All around, the treetops
With their colors say
Autumn in evening is
A time of change, indeed.

SZS V: 355

Fuyu kite Fa
Fito yo Futa yo wo
tamasasa no
Fawake no simo no
tokoro seki made
Since Winter's coming—
In but a single night or maybe two—
Upon the bamboo grass
Leaves, the frost
Has left no gap at all.

SZS VI: 400

maya no nokiba no
Fodo naki ni
yagate sasi'iru
tuki no kage kana
Fallen rain dripping
From the leaning eaves
So shallow that
Swiftly in pours
The moonlight.

SZS V: 414

wakarete mo
kokoro Fedatu na
ikuwe kasanaru
yamadi naritomo
We may part, yet
Let us not be strangers;
Journey clothes
Place layer on layer,
Though mountain paths lie in-between.

SZS VII: 497

sika bakari
tigirisi naka mo
kono yo ni Fito wo
tanomikeru kana
So strong were
Our pledges, yet between us
All has changed;
In this world, in her
Did I put my trust...

SZS XV: 951

Roppyaku-Ban Uta Awase

1193, Fujiwara Yoshitsune, ‘Poetry Contest in Six Hundred Rounds’ participants:

haru kureba
hoshi no kurai ni
kage miete
kumoi no hashi ni
izuru taoyame
When spring is come
A sprinkling of star
Light seems
Upon the walkways of the cloud-borne palace
To emerge: gentle maidens.


kasumi aezu
nao furu yuki ni
sora tojite
haru monofukaki
uzumibi no moto
No trace of haze and
Still the falling snow
Seals the sky;
Spring lies deep
Amongst the buried embers.


kôri i
shimizu no shiranami
harukaze shiruki
ike no omo kana
To the iced
Clear waters waves of white
Return again;
Spring's breezes well know
This mere's face.


Shin Kokin Wakashu Teika was the main editor of the celebrated imperial anthology, Shin Kokin Wakashū, and 46 of his poems were included (a modest sum, since the top contributor was Saigyō with more than twice as much, 94). The full Japanese text is available:

haru no yo no
yume no uki hashi
mine ni wakaruru
yokogumo no sora
A Spring night's
Floating bridge of dreams
Is broken—
Split by the peaks,
The long clouds trail across the sky.

SKKS I: 38 On this spring night my floating bridge of dreams has broken away; and lifting off a far peak— a cloudbank trailing in the sky. pg 196, Carter The floating bridge of my spring night dream has broken away: and lifting off a far peak— a cloudbank trailing in the sky. pg107, Carter2011 When the floating bridge Of dreams of a night in spring Was interrupted, In the sky a bank of clouds Was taking leave of the peak pg659, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

ôzora wa
mume no nioi ni
kumori mo hatenu
haru no yo no tsuki
In the firmament
The scent of plum
Is in the spreading haze;
The clouds have yet to cover
The moon on this spring night.

SKKS I: 40

mume no hana
nioi o utsusu
sode no ue ni
noki moru tsuki no
kage zo arasou
The plum blossoms'
Scent moves
Over my sleeves—
Flooding 'neath the eaves the moon
Light is not to be outdone.

SKKS I: 44

shimo mayou
sora ni shioreshi
kari ga ne no
kaeru tsubasa ni
harusame zo furu
Wracked by frosts,
The skies, where drenched
The geese, calling,
Homeward bound, wingbeats
Stirring Spring rains' fall.

SKKS I: 63

shira kumo no
haru wa kasanete
tatsuta yama
ogura no mine ni
hana niourashi
The white clouds of Spring
Have covered o'er
Mount Tatsuta—
And on the peak of Ogura
The blossom is in full flower, it seems

SKKS I: 91

sakura iro no
niwa no haru kaze
ato mo nashi
towaba zo hito no
yuki to dani min
Upon the palest pink hues
Of my garden, Spring breezes
Leave no mark;
Were you to come a'calling, a singular
Snow is what you'd see.

SKKS I: 134

hana mo momiji mo
ura no tomoya no
aki no yuugure
In this wide landscape
There are no cherry blossoms
And no colored leaves;
Evening in autumn over
A straw-thatched hut by the bay.

pg661, Keene, Seeds in the Heart As I gaze out, Neither blossom nor Autumn leaves Are here; In a beachfront hut On an Autumn evening. SKKS IV: 363 :

As one looks out
no flowers or fall leaves around
the dusk on a fall day at the
reed-thatched hut on the bay
(Sen Genshitsu 2006, 66–67)

SKKKS, IV: 363 , pg13 An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry, Earl Miner1969 ISBN 0-8047-0636-0: As I look about— What need is there for cherry flowers Or crimson leaves? The inlet with its grass-thatched huts Clustered in the growing autumn dusk.

toki wakanu
nami sae iro ni
hahaso no mori ni
arashi fukurashi
Untouched by changing seasons are
The waves, yet have they taken color,
On Izumi river;
In the oak groves
Storms rage through, it seems.

SKKS V: 532

On her mat of straw,
she waits as the autumn wind
deepens the night,
spreading moonlight for her robe—
the Maiden of Uji River.

pg 198, Carter

Samushiro ya
matsu yo no aki no
kaze fukete
tsuki wo katashiku
uji no hashihime
How cold!
waiting out the autumn's weary night
deepening as the wind blows
she spreads out the moon's light
the Princess of Uji Bridge.

Teika SKKS 4:420, Bialock 205 *{{citation|last = Bialock|first = David T.|year = 1994|title = Voice, Text, and the Question of Poetic Borrowing in Late Classical Japanese Poetry|periodical = [[Harvard Periodical of Asiatic Studies]]|volume = 54|pages = 181-231|jstor =2719391|doi = 10.2307/2719391|issue = 1|publisher = Harvard-Yenching Institute }} Chill, this thin straw mat; Awaiting through the night as the Autumn Wind blows stronger, Moonlight falling all around, My maid at Uji Bridge. alternate translation from

koma tomete
sode uchiharau
kage mo nashi
sano no watari no
yuki no yugure
Halting my mount
To brush clear my sleeves,
I cast no shadow
At the ford of Sano,
Snow falling in the evening.

SKKS VI: 671 No shelter in sight to give my pony a rest and brush off my sleeves— in the fields around Sano Ford on a snowy evening. pg198, Carter

matsu hito no
fumoto no michi wa
nokiba no sugi ni
yuki o moru nari
Awaiting one whose
Path among the foothills
Has vanished, I think;
The cedar by my eaves
Is buried deep in snow.

SKKS VI: 672

wa ga michi o
mamoraba kimi o
yowai wa yuzure
sumiyoshi no matsu
If my path
They ward, my Lord
They will protect, I'm sure;
And give age as theirs',
The pines of Sumiyoshi.


tamayura no
tsuyu mo namida mo
nakibito koru
yado no aki kaze
Fleeting, indeed, are
Dew and tear drops, both
She loved
This house, where Autumn winds blow now.


wasuru na yo
yadoru tamoto wa
kawaru tomo
katami ni shiboru
yowa no tsuki kage
Do not forget!
The sleeves they rest upon
May change, yet
'Tis rembrance you'll wring out
With this night's moonlight.

SKKS IX: 891

izuku ni ka
koyoi wa yado o
kari koromo
hi mo yûgure no
mine no arashi ni
Where, indeed,
On this night lodging
Might I find; my hunting robes
Sash tightening; with the evening sun
Storm winds come from the peak.

SKKS X: 952

tabibito no
sode fukikaesu
aki kaze ni
yû hi sabishiki
yama no kakehashi
A traveller's
Sleeves flutter
In the Autumn wind;
How lonely is the evening sun
A brief bridge between the mountains

SKKS X: 953

nabikaji na
ama no moshiobi
keburi wa sora ni
kuyuri wabu tomo
Not flaring at all,
The fisher-folks' sea-salt fires
Have only just ignited;
The smoke into the sky
Has yet to drift, but...

SKKS XI: 1082

suma no ama no
sode ni fukikosu
shiokaze no
naru to wa suredo
te ni mo tamarazu
At Suma the fisher-folks'
Sleeves get blown about by
The incoming tide's winds:
Familiar it is, indeed, yet
I cannot grasp it in my hand.

SKKS XII: 1117

toko no shimo
makura no kôri
kie wabinu
musubi mo okanu
hito no chigiri ni
With frostfall upon my bed,
The ice upon my pillow
Cannot melt away—I lack the strength to die—
Leaving unfulfilled
The vow I made to you.

SKKS XII: 1137

toshi mo henu
inoru chigiri wa
hatsuse yama
onoe no kane no
yoso no yûgure
The years have passed, and
For love did I plight my troth, yet
From Mount Hatsuse's
Peak the bell tolls
A distant toll this evening.

SKKS XII: 1142

The years have gone by
with my prayers unanswered—
as Hase Temple's bell
signals evening from the peaks,
sounding somehow far away.

SKKS XII: 1143 ‘Love’ Unforgotten Dreams: Poems by the Zen monk Shōtetsu; trans. Steven D. Carter, ISBN 0-231-10576-2; also included pg198 of Carter

tsuraki arashi no
koe mo ushi
nado yûgure ni
machi naraiken
'Tis pointless—
The bitter storm wind's
Roar, too, is cruel;
Why, in the evenings,
Am I so used to waiting?


kaeru sa no
mono to ya hito no
matsu yo nagara no
ariake no tsuki
'Tis time to be homeward bound;
Does he
See it, I wonder?
Having waited through the night,
The moon at dawn...


matsuyama to
chigirishi hito wa
sode kosu nami ni
nokoru tsuki kage
"As the pine-mantled peak",
We vowed and yet
She has grown cold;
The waves breaking on my sleeves
Reflect the moonlight.

SKKS XIV: 1284

wasurezu wa
nareshi sode mo ya
nenu yo no toko no
shimo no samushiro
Had she not forgotten me,
Would my sleeves be so used
To freezing, I wonder?
In bed on a sleepless night,
Frost falling on my meagre mat.

SKKS XIV: 1291

utsurou hito no
aki no iro ni
mi o kogarashi no
mori no shiratsuyu
I am too grieved to die!
My fickle love showed me
She'd had enough with Autumn's colors;
Now, I yearn for her as the bitter wind
Drenches the forest with silven dewfall.

SKKS XIV: 1320

musebu tomo
shiraji na kokoro
kawaraya ni
ware nomi ketanu
shita no keburi wa
I may be choked, yet
You know it not, I think; my heart's
Unchanged-at the tiler's hut
I alone would vanish
'Neath the smoke.

SKKS XIV: 1324

tazune miru
tsuraki kokoro no
oku no umi
yoshioi no kata no
iukai mo nashi
Should I seek out love
Within her cold heart's
Depths—as at the sea by Michinoku
In the tidal inlets
There are no shellfish—'twould be pointless

SKKS XIV: 1332

shirotae no
sode no wakare ni
tsuyu ochite
mi ni shimu iro no
aki kaze zo fuku
White mulberry cloth,
My sleeves, on parting
Are splashed with dew,
Staining my breast, this hue
Is carried on the gusting autumn wind

SKKS XV: 1336

sono kurokami no
suji goto ni
uchifusu hodo wa
omokage zo tatsu
I gently smoothed
Those raven tresses
Strand by strand; now
As I lie down
Her face floats before me.

SKKS XV: 1390 Those long black tresses that I roughly pushed aside: now strand upon strand they rise in my mind’s eye each night as I lie down. pg200, Carter

ama no hara
omoeba kawaru
iro mo nashi
aki koso tsuki no
hikari narikere
If you think on it,
you can see no change in color
on Heaven's High Plain:
autumn is not in the sky
but in the light of the moon.

pg200, Carter

mi no okotari zo
toshi henuru
araba au yo no
kokorozuyosa ni
With me unresolved
to die of the love I feel,
the years have gone by—
my heart strengthened by the thought
that, living, I may see him again.

pg200, Carter

haru o hete
miyuki ni naruru
hana no kage
furiyuku mi o mo
aware to ya omou
Spring passes and
The royal visit's here—a blizzard
Of blossom shading,
Falling—and me ageing—
Do you think of me kindly?

SKKS XVI: 1455

moshio kumu
sode no tsuki kage
onozu kara
yoso ni akasanu
suma no urabito
Scooping seaweed-salt,
The moonlight on my sleeves
Does not brighten the distant
Folk on Suma beach.

SKKS XVI: 1557

saga no yama
chi yo no furu michi
ato tomete
mata tsuyu wakuru
mochizuki no koma
On the mount of Saga
For a thousand generations the ancient ways
Have left their mark,
Once more forging through the dew comes
A mount from Mochizuki.


wakuraba ni
towareshi hito mo
mukashi nite
sore yori niwa no
ato wa taeniki
But rarely
Did he visit—now
'Tis all in the past, and
Since then in the garden
Every single trace has gone.


ôyodo no
ura ni karihosu
mirume dani
kasumi ni taete
kaeru kari ga ne
On Ôyodo
Beach, laid out to dry is
The algae—just a glimpse, as
Obscured by the haze
The geese call, homeward bound.


kimi ga yo ni
awazu wa nani o
tama no o no
nagaku tomade wa
oshimareji mi o
If with your reign
I am not to meet, for what should
My jewelled belt of life
Stretch on and on,
Without a care?


chigiri arite
kyô miyagawa no
yû kazura
nagaki yo made mo
kakete tanoman
It must be fate—
On this day by the sacred river's
Barken garlands,
'For as long as they should
Hang there', is my plea.

SKKS XIX: 1872

Cold builds
in the capital, but still
no snowflakes fall—
hough the peaks are white
out beyond the evening rain.

ShokuKKS 639; pg101 of Haiku before haiku: from the Renga masters to Bashō, translated by Steven Carter2011

Hyakunin Isshu

Teika compiled the Hyakunin Isshū anthology, and included one of his poems. It’s a famous collection, and has been translated many times. or Clay MacCauley

97 Konu hito wo Matsuho no ura no Yuunagi ni Yaku ya moshio no Mi mo kogare tsutsu Like the salt sea-weed, Burning in the evening calm. On Matsuo’s shore, All my being is aflame, Awaiting her who does not come. こぬ人を まつほの浦の 夕なぎに 焼くやもしほの 身もこがれつつ Konu hito o Matsuho no ura no Yunagi ni Yaku ya moshio no Mi mo kogare tsutsu. Like the salt sea-weed, Burning in the evening calm. On Matsuo’s shore, All my being is aflame, Awaiting her who does not come. pg 81 of Brower1978? On Matsuo Beach I wait in the pines at dusk for one who won’t come— and like the blazing salt mounds, I too am consumed by fire. pg 237, Steven D Carter, Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology Waiting for someone Who does not come, my heart burns Like seaweed fires Smoldering in the calm of dusk On the shore of Matsuho. also drawing on a Man’yoshu; pg670, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

Go-Toba’s 100 Poems Competition

Koma tomete
Sode uchiharau
Kage mo nashi
Sano no watari no
Yuki no yūgere.
There is no shelter
Where I can rest my weary horse
And brush my laden sleeves:
The Sano Ford and its adjoining fields
Spread over with twilight in the snow.

pg 81, #67, of Brower1978 I stop my horse And brush off my sleeves; No shelter here This evening of snow At the crossing of Sano pg 98? Keene, Travelers of 100 Ages

Shirotae no
Sode no wakare ni
Tsuyu ochite
Mi ni shimu iro no
Akikaze zo fuku.
The white sleeves covering us,
Glistening with dew and sparkling with our tears,
Are parted by the dawn,
And as we dress, shake in the autumn wind
Which blows its pale color through our hearts.

Shin Kokinshu XV: 1336; pg90 of “Association and Progression: Principles of Integration in Anthologies and Sequences of Japanese Court Poetry, A. D. 900-1350”, Konishi1958 (translated by Brower & Miner)

utsurou haru wo
amata hete
mi sae furinuru
asajiu no yado
The cherry blossoms
Have passed through so many springs,
Blooming and fading,
And even I have grown old
In my cogon-thatched cottage.

pg650-651, Keene, Seeds in the Heart

Go-Toba’s Saisho Shitteno Screens

aki to dani
fukiaenu kaze ni
iro kawaru
Ikuta no mori no
tsuyu no shitagusa
Its color has changed
Though the winds of autumn
Have yet to blow;
The dew-laden undergrowth
Of the Wood of Ikuta

pg 99? Keene, Travelers of 100 Ages

Shui Guso

You've forgotten, you say?
Alright, then, I too will forget
that when we parted,
I said I would convince myself
it was nothing but a dream.

Shūi Gusō #268 quoted in Unforgotten Dreams: Poems by the Zen monk Shōtetsu; trans. Steven D. Carter, ISBN 0-231-10576-2; slight variant in pg195 of Carter, Traditional Japanese Poetry

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