A working space for my notes on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu - a classical Japanese anthology of 100 poems by 100 poets. My thanks to Jane Reichhold and fellow members of the AHApoetry Forum for their encouragement, advice and participation; and also to my fellow fellow members of Eratosphere for their comments and suggestions.

Friday, 27 April 2012

#009 花の色は

花の色は
うつりにけりな
いたづらに
わが身世にふる
ながめせしまに

Hana no iro wa utsuri ni keri na itazura ni waga mi yo ni furu nagame seshi ma ni

Ono no Komachi 



The flowers' blooms
are washed away:
in vain
I spend my length of days
gazing on the endless rain.

(trans. Köy Deli )
flowers of love
can change so much
the trick
as my body grows old
is just to watch the rain

(trans. Jane Reichhold)


Crib

As the flowers' are swept away beneath the endless fall of rain, so my beauty fades as I grow older; our vain display, for nothing.

Parsing

hana no iro wa

flowers | of | colour/love | topic marker
utsuri ni keri na
change | in | (-ed) or (!) | emp. particle
itazura ni
vain | in
wagami yo ni furu
myself/my body | world/life/age | in | falling/growing old
nagame seshi ma ni
gaze at/long spell of rain | did do | period (of time) | in


Devices

Metaphor

The image of fading/withered flowers acts as a metaphor for the narrators own fading beauty.

Kakekotoba (Pivots)

The third line (in vain, vainly, for nothing) may be read as a pivot line, modifying the couplets both above and below (however, there is a emphatic final particle (na) indicating a semantic break at end of L2).

There are two pivot words in the final couplet:

furu - which may be read as either to fall or to age; and
nagame - both to gaze and long (spell of) rains.

Anastrophe ( tōchihō / とうちほう)

Inversion, the first two lines grammatically come at the end; that is, the flowers of the first line are effected by the rains of the last line.


hana
flower
No
Genitive particle
iro
Colour, complexion, appearance, tint; lust, desire, love, lover
wa
Nominal particle; is, is the, are; phrase separation; topic marker
utsuri
うつり
To fade, wither; shifted, moved, changed; reflected
ni
Locative particle (in, with, by); adverb suffix (-ly); past tense aux.
keri
けり
Exclamation of realization
na
emotional or emphatic particle of sentence end.
Itazura –ni
いたづらに
[いたずらに]

Mischief, tease, prank, trick; with adverbial  -ni Unnecessarily; in vain; vainly; for nothing; Mischievously;
Waga -mi
わが身
 myself, oneself; my (waga = wa/I, ga/genitive) body (mi)
yo

Night, world, life, existence; age, generation; yo ni – the world, in the world, into the world.
furu
ふる
To fall  down, falling, shake, whip; to pour down (as rain, snow, hail); to grow/become old/worn out
nagame
ながめ
Long spell of rain, continuous rain; longish; to look at, glance at, to view, to gaze at, watching (nagameru)
Se -shi

Do (with past tense aux. –shi)
Ma (-ni)
まに
Interval, spot, place, period of time; ma ni (in period, place) – between, during, among the

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