Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
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Kakinomoto no Hitomaro 229  K akinomoto no Hitomaro (ca. 660–708) Ode at the Time of the Temporary Interment of Princess Asuka at Kinoë They have raised you a bridge of stone in the upper shoals of Asuka. The birds glance on the water. They have built you a bridge of wood in the lower shoals of Asuka. And the weeds that spring from the stone are cut but grow again. And the grass that grows on the wood is withered but grows again. But you, my princess, why have you gone from the evening palace, gone from the morning halls of your lovely lord on whom you leaned when you lay together as the river reed leans on the wave? Like tall grass I see you standing. I see you still with the living, in spring with flowers, with leaves for fall. Deep as one looks in a mirror you looked on your lord, and were not full, finding him more and more marvelous like the fifth-month moon. You locked your sleeves to his, and time upon time together you went with your lord to the shrine of Kinoë, bearing in cups the holy wine. 230 Japanese And now Kinoë is your shrine. I see you still with the living, and all my words are unwoven. The duck-wild eyes die away. Oh, when I see your lord who goes on loving alone like a mandarin drake, who comes and goes like the bird of morning, bent down with longing, as summer grass is bent, rising here, setting there, like the evening star, and his wild heart tossed like a little shallop, what could I say, what should I know? There is only the sound and the name. These are endless, like heaven and earth. We shall go to the stream of Asuka, the river that runs with your name, and adore for ten thousand years our loveliest princess. A Naga-uta on the Death of His Wife There on the road to Karu (Karu, called for the mallards), my love, my sister, lived and I desired to see her. But too many eyes and eyes too curious forbade my coming. For still our love was secret, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro 231  and the ways of love were hidden like a fountain in the rocks or a little flame in flint. And now the flame is out, for she I loved is gone, who leaned sleeping against me as the seaweed leans on the wave, gone like splendid October, a ripeness from the days. This is the news the runner brings, news like the twang of the yew-wood bow. I hear the words, but cannot speak, nor comfort find, nor rest, nor hope, nor endure such words. So I go the road to Karu where she watched for my coming. I go the road and listen, straining for a voice, but hear only the wild geese screaming over Unebi, and the people that throng the spear of the road. I meet them and scan their faces, but see no face like hers. For this is left of love: to cry her name to wave my sleeve. Falling on hillpaths the red leaves cloud the way. I seek my love who wanders. I cannot find the path, and the mountain is unknown. 232 Japanese Through the ruddy fall, the red leaves falling on, I see the runner still. I see a meeting-day although we meet no more. Grief after the Mountain-Crossing of the Prince The haze rises. The spring evening is woven. And I am lost. I have no way. I have no words: ingrown in grief, dumb like the nightjar. Could I tongue my grief, loosen the sleeves of speech! O the wind that blew up at the mountain-crossing of our great lord blows, and blows back, evening and morning, lapping my sleeves! And I am lost, like a man undone, going a journey but going in grass, without words, and the way lost, and a grief in my guts like the salt-burning of the fisher-girls of Tsumu. William Arrowsmith, 1955 ...