Please enjoy a Japanese ancient "waka" poet Ohtomo Yakamochi's works in my translation.

Selected Poems of OHTOMO YAKAMOCHI(718?~785)

A song of the crescent moon

tuki02 ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Mikaduki mireba
Hitome mishi
Hito no mayobiki
Omooyuru kamo.(06/0994)

When I look up
At the crescent moon,
It recalls to my mind
The penciled eyebrows of a woman
I've caught only a glimpse.

From "Four autumn songs"

tuki020 ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Ame harete
Kiyoku teritaru
Kono tsukuyo
Mata sara ni shite
Kumo na tanabiki.(08/1569)

It has stopped raining.
The clear moonlight
Is shining in the sky.
Clouds,please do not move
Over the moon again.

"The spring sorrow trilogy"

kuki032 ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Haru no no ni
Kasumi tanabiki
Kono yukage ni
Uguisu nakumo. (19/4290)

As a haze hangs
Over the spring fields,
My soul fills with sorrow.
A bush warbler cries
In this evening light!

take ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Waga yado no
Isasa mura-take
Huku kaze no
Oto no kasokeki
Kono yuhe kamo.(19/4291)

In my garden
A petty bamboo clump
Is stirring slightly.
What a subtle sound
Of this evening breeze!

kuki04 ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Tereru harubi ni
Hibari agari
Kokoro kanashimo
Hitori shi omoeba.(19/4292)

A lark flies high
Into the spring light
That is shining peacefully.
My heart fills with sorrow,
As I think alone.

The followings are translated songs of Yakamochi that I found on Web sites.

Ime no ai wa
Kurushiku ari keri
Kakisagure domo
Te nimo hureneba.(04/0741)

Now to meet only in dreams,
Bitterly seeking,
Starting from sleep,
Groping in the dark,
With hands that touch nothing.

(Another translation)
Better never to have met you
In my dream
Than to wake and reach
For hands that are not there.

hune ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Asadoko ni
Kikeba harukeshi
Asakogi shitsutsu
Utau hunabito.(19/4150)

At morning, in bed
I hear something far away.
On Imizu River,
rowing off in the morning,
a boatman is singing.

mitubo ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Mitsubo nasu
Kareru mi zo towa
Shirere domo
Nao shi negaitsu
Chitose no inochi wo(20/4470)

Full well do I know
that this passing form of mine
is foam on the water:
yet all the more what I want
is to live a thousand years!

yuki ‹ï–žƒ^ƒ“Vol.7

Toshi no hajime no
Hatsu-haru no
Kyo huru yuki no
Iya shike yogoto(20/4516)

'Tis the New Year
Already dawneth the Spring, with promise bright.
On our dear land may countless blessings light,
As countless as the snowflakes that are falling!
(translated by Clara Walsh)


Last Updated:14th.April.1998 Hisashi Mizugaki
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