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Iro miede
Utsurou momo wa
Yo no naka no
Hito no kokoro no
Hana ni zo arikeru

A thing which fades
With no outward sign—
Is the flower
Of the heart of man
In this world!

Hito ni awan
Tsuki no naki ni wa
Omoiokite
Mune hashiribi ni
Kokoro yakeori

This night of no moon
There is no way to meet him.
I rise in longing—
My breast pounds, a leaping flame,
My heart is consumed in fire.

Ono no Komachi (小野 小町; c. 825 – c. 900) was a Japanese waka poet.

QuotesEdit

Yone Noguchi's The Spirit of Japanese Poetry (1914)Edit

The Spirit of Japanese Poetry, trans. Yone Noguchi (John Murray, 1914)
  • The flowers and my love
    Passed away under the rain,
    While I idly looked upon them
    Where is my yester-love?
    • p. 112

Donald Keene's Anthology of Japanese Literature (1955)Edit

Anthology of Japanese Literature: From the Earliest Era to the Mid-nineteenth Century, ed. Donald Keene (Allen & Unwin, 1955)
  • Iro miede
    Utsurou momo wa
    Yo no naka no
    Hito no kokoro no
    Hana ni zo arikeru
    • A thing which fades
      With no outward sign—
      Is the flower
      Of the heart of man
      In this world!
  • Hito ni awamu
    Tsuki no naki yo wa
    Omoiokite
    Mune hashiri hi ni
    Kokoro yakeori
    • This night of no moon
      There is no way to meet him.
      I rise in longing—
      My breast pounds, a leaping flame,
      My heart is consumed in fire.
      • p. 78
  • Omoitsutsu
    Nureba ya hito no
    Mietsuramu
    Yume to shiriseba
    Samezaramashi wo
    • Thinking about him
      I slept, only to have him
      Appear before me—
      Had I known it was a dream,
      I should never have wakened.
      • p. 78
  • Wabinureba
    Mi wo ukigusa no
    Ne wo taete
    Sasou mizu araba
    Inamu to zo omou
    • So lonely am I
      My body is a floating weed
      Severed at the roots.
      Were there water to entice me,
      I would follow it, I think.
      • p. 79

Kenneth Rexroth's translationsEdit

One Hundred Poems from the Japanese (1955)Edit

One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, trans. Kenneth Rexroth (New Directions Publishing, 1955), ISBN 978-0811201810
  • Imperceptible
    It withers in the world,
    This flower-like human heart.
    • p. 46

One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese (1976)Edit

One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese, trans. Kenneth Rexroth (New Directions Publishing, 1976), ISBN 978-0811206198
  • Yumeji ni wa
    Ashi mo yasumezu
    Kayoedo mo
    Utsutsu ni hitome
    Misbigoto wa arazu
    • Following the roads
      Of dream to you, my feet
      Never rest. But one glimpse of you
      In reality would be
      Worth all these many nights of love.
      • p. 33
  • You do not come
    On this moonless night.
    I wake wanting you.
    My breasts heave and blaze.
    My heart burns up.
    • p. 34

Women Poets of Japan (1982)Edit

Women Poets of Japan, trans. Kenneth Rexroth with Ikuko Atsumi (New Directions Publishing, 1982), ISBN 978-0811208208
  • I fell asleep thinking of him,
    and he came to me.
    If I had known it was only a dream
    I would never have awakened.
    • p. 14
  • Although I come to you constantly
    over the roads of dreams,
    those nights of love
    are not worth one waking touch of you.
    • p. 15
  • He does not come.
    Tonight in the dark of the moon
    I wake wanting him.
    My breasts heave and blaze.
    My heart chars.
    • p. 15

Helen Craig McCullough's translationsEdit

Kokin Wakashū: The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry (1985)Edit

Kokin Wakashū: The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry, trans. Helen Craig McCullough (Stanford University Press, 1985), ISBN 978-0804712583
  • Hana no iro wa
    utsurinikeri na
    itazura ni
    wa ga mi yo ni furu
    nagame seshi ma ni
    • Alas! The beauty
      of the flowers has faded
      and come to nothing,
      while I have watched the rain,
      lost in melancholy thought.
      • p. 35
  • Aki no yo mo
    na nomi narikeri
    au to ieba
    koto zo to mo naku
    akenuru mono o
    • Autumn nights, it seems,
      are long by repute alone:
      scarcely had we met
      when morning's first light appeared,
      leaving everything unsaid.
      • p. 142
  • Iro miede
    utsurou mono wa
    yo no naka no
    hito no kokoro no
    hana ni zo arikeru
    • So much I have learned:
      the blossom that fades away,
      its color unseen,
      is the flower in the heart
      of one who lives in this world.
      • p. 174
  • Wabinureba
    mi o ukikusa no
    ne o taete
    sasou mizu araba
    inamu to zo omou
    • In this forlorn state
      I find life dreary indeed:
      if a stream beckoned,
      I would gladly cut my roots
      and float away like duckweed.
      • p. 206

Quotes about KomachiEdit

  • Her beauty may be legendary but her rank as one of the greatest erotic poets in any language is not.
    • Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi, The Burning Heart: Women Poets of Japan (New York: Seabury Press, 1977), p. 141

External linksEdit