Autumn is here! Poem Number 69


The Hyakunin Isshu

Ceramic daylight (1910314548)

My favorite season, Autumn, is fast approaching so I thought this would be a good poem:

あらし吹く Arashi fuku
三室の山の Mimuro no yama no
もみぢ葉は Momijiba wa
龍田の川の Tatsuta no kawa no
にしきなりけり Nishiki nari keri

Which Professor Mostow translates as:

It’s the autumn leaves
of the hills of Mimuro,
where the tempests blow,
that are the woven brocade floating
on the waters of Tatsuta River!

The author, Nōin Hōshi (“Dharma Master” Nōin, b. 988) was originally Tachibana no Nagayasu until the age of 26 when he took tonsure. From there, he traveled the provinces, composing poetry and contributed to various anthologies at the time. Because he was not tied to a politically prominent temple, he had more freedom than other monks in the Capitol to roam the countryside and write in his travels.

Professor Mostow notes that this poem is unusual because it’s very straightforward with no hidden wordplay…

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