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, 15 June 2012

#017 千早ぶる

千早ぶる
神代もきかず
龍田川
からくれないに
水くくるとは

chihayaburu kamiyo mo kikazu tatsuta-gawa karakurenai ni mizu kukuru to wa

Ariwara no Narihira

the venerable
old gods were not even asked --
it is for herself
that the Tatsuta River
tie-dyes the water crimson

(trans. Köy Deli)
magnificence
not seen since the age of gods
in the Tatsuta River
the water is tie-dyed
a deep crimson red 

(trans.  Jane Reichhold)

Parsing

chihayaburu

pillow-word epiteth usedof gods (awesome, majestic, imperious...)
kamiyo mo kikazu
age-of-the-gods | even | heard-not
Tatsuta-gawa
Tatsuta | -river
karakurenai ni
Chinese crimson | locative particle
mizu kukuru to wa
water | tie-dyed | for | inverted grammar marker/!

Crib
The Tatsuta river has tie-dyed its water Chinese crimson, never has it been heard of, even in the age of the imperious gods!

(Another possibility - without asking/telling the gods?)

Devices

1. Makurakotoba - A pillow word (eptiteth syllable filler) on the first line –
2. Personification of the river –
3. Grammatical inversion. The first two lines grammatically follow the last three; there is a phrasal pause at the end of line two with the end-of-sentence particle of negation 'zu'.
4. Kigo for Autumn -- Princess Tatsuta
5. Utamakura - A place with culturally conventional poetic allusions and intertextual references.

(In Autumn the Tatsuta River is said to turn red with the fall of Red Maple leaves.)

chihayaburu
千早ぶる 
pillow word epiteth used of ‘god(s)’


kamiyo
神代 
ancient times, age of the gods


mo
also, too, as much as, even, about


kikazu
きかず 
negative (zu) sentence ending form of
 to hear, to listen (to tell, inform, read to, sing about).


Tatsuta
龍田
name of river


kawa, -gawa
river


karakurenai
からくれない
(Chinese) crimson, deep red


ni
Locative particle;
mizu
 
water


kukuru
くくる
to tie, bind, tie-dye


to
 
conjunctive particle
wa
 
final particle of inverted word order

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