Hyaku Nin Isshu in English

Translated by Yone Noguchi.

1

My clothes wet with the midnight dews—
Through the roof mat,
In this temporal hut,
For our harvest.
                                       Tenchi Tenno.

2

Has Spring passed away?
Did Summer already come?
Lo, Kagu Yama!  There
The white gowns are seen being dried.
                                       Jito Tenno.

3

What a long night!
How could I sleep alone!
How the night drags!—(Dragging
As a mountain fowl's long-dropped tail!)
                                       Kakinomoto no Hitomaro.

4

From Tago Ura,
I behold Fuji's white summit,—
Over the high summit,
The snow falling and falling on.
                                       Yamabe no Akahito.

5

How sad is Autumn,
When you hear the deer's cry.
With his hoofs upon the maple leaves,,
Amid the deeper hill!
                                       Sarumaru Dayu.

6

Must be done the night:
Over the Kasasagi bridge in the sky,
The frost white, I see,
Is set already.
                                       Chunagon Yakamochi.

7

Behold the heavenly vastness,
The sky of the moon!
Is it not the same moon I once saw,
Out of Kasuga's Mikasa hill?
                                       Abe no Nakamaro.

8

My hut is southward of the city,
here like this I live alone:
Why, people call here Ujiyama.
(The "World-sad Hill")!
                                       Kisen Hoshi.

9

The flowers and my love,
Passed away under the rain,
While I idly looked upon them:
Where is my yester-love?
                                       Ono no Komachi.

10

here some depart, here some return,
Once they part, and they meet here again,—
The people who know and who know not:
'Tis Ausaka Gate (the "Meeting Height Gate").
                                       Semimaru

11

O thou, fisher's boat,
Tell men that I sailed.
Away into the eighty isles,
Into the bluest field,—the sea!
                                       Sangi Takamura.

12

O heavenly wind,
Blow and stop the road of clouds!
Let the beauties, nay, the angels,
For a while be with us!
                                       Sosho Henjo.

13

From the Tsukuba summit,
Mina no Kawa drops down,
And the waters gathered make the depth!
Oh so is love.
                                       Yoseiin.

14

Why does thy heart so stir,
Mojizuri of Michinoku's Shinobu loom?
Whom my heart does stir to?
Alas, nobody but my love!
                                       Kawara no Sadaijin.

15

For thy sake,
I come out in the Spring field,
And the wakana I gather,—
Lo, the snow-flakes falling on my gown.
                                       Kwoko tenno.

16

Now we part.  The pine-tree grows.
There on the Inaba mountain top.
If thou shouldst say "pine"*
I to you will soon return.
                                       Chunagon Yukihira.

*"Matsu in Japanese, meaning "wait."

17

I did not hear even in the gods' age,—
Behold Tatsuda Gawa!—
The waters were reddened so
By the autumn leaves.
                                       Ariwara no Narihira.

18

I think of thee,
I go along the road of dream to meet thee,
How I fear people's curious eyes!
(Oh my love riding on the waves of dream!)
                                       Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason.

19

Must I pass the days and world,
Not seeing thee,
Even for a short time,—short
like the ashi joints of the Naniwa shore?
                                       Ise.

20

Now it will be same watever it be.
Oh what a misery!
I might think to see thee once more
Even for my own life.
                                       Motoyoshi Shinno.

21

Now I have to wait
Only for the Naga Tsuki morning moon* to appear,
But thy word of promise
To come and see me soon!
                                       Sosei Hoshi.

*Ariake in original

22

Under the wind-blow,
The Autumn grasses and trees wither away.
Is it not right to call
A yama kaze* "storm"?
                                       Bunya no Yasuhide.

*"Yama kaze" is mountain and wind, which two characters make one "storm" (arashi).

23

To gaze upon the moon
Is to be sad in a thousand ways,
Though all the Autumn
Is not meant to be my own self's.
                                       Oye no Chizato.

24

A nusa I could not bring with me this time,
Oh god, but the brocade of maple leaves
Of the Tamuke mountain
Will serve for thy will.
                                       Kanke.

25

Is there no way to come* as secret
As the trace of a sanekatsura vine
Of the Osaka mountain?
(Oh, reel** of the vine!)
                                       Sanjo no Udaijin.

*"To come is kuru in Japanese, "reel" also being kuru. Such a jugglery of words is one phase of our Japanese tanka.
**Hinting "sleep."

26

The maple leaves on the Ogura mountain top,
If they knew, would wait
For the Emperor's miyuki train
To pass once more.
                                       Teishinko.

27

Like the Izumi stream
Boiling down through the Mika plain,
Oh, my heart!
When did I see her to love so!
                                       Chunagon Kanesuke.

28

The mountain village in Winter
Will be lonelier.  Oh, to think
That every human face and grass
Are to die away from me!
                                       Minamoto no Muneyuki Ason.

29

how shall I pluck
The white chrysanthemum?  'Tis hard
To choose one from those
With the earliest frost thickly set.
                                       Ochikochi no Mitsune.

30

There's nothing more hard
Than an early morning parting.
Oh, how heartless
The morning moon* does appear!
                                       Mibu no Tadamine.

*Ariake in Original.

31

I thought that it might be
The shadow of the morning moon,*
But the white snows fall
On the yoshino village.
                                       Sakanouye no Korenori.

*Ariake in Original.

32

The hurdle that the wind built
Over the mountain river
Is nothing but the maple leaves
Not run down.
                                       Harumichi no Tsuraki.

33

'Tis the Spring day
With lovely far-away light.
Why the flowers must fall
With hearts unquiet?
                                       Ki no Tomonori.

34

Who shall I make my friend?
Even the Takasago pine-tree
Could not remain
As an old friend of mine.
                                       Fujiwara no Okikaze.

35

I know not what one thinks
Of me.  But at the home
The flowers are perfumed
In fragrance old and same.
                                       Ki no Turayuki.

36

The Summer night will break
When the evening scarcely passed,
What cloud will the moon
Take as her lodging place?
                                       Kiyowara no Fukayubu.

37

Over the Autumn field
Of white dews, in gust,
Lo, the stringless pearls
Are scattered away.
                                       Bunya no Asayasu.

38

I do not mind of myself
To be forgotten by him,
But for his own life's sake
I have to grieve.
                                       Ukon.

39

'Tis too much to keep seret. (Oh I would
My heart were unrevealed like that
Of grass-grown One's bamboo bush!)
Why do I love her so?
                                       Sangi Hitoshi.

40

Alas, my face betrayed
The secret of my love.
All men ask me why
I am so sad.
                                       Taira no Kanemori.

41

That I love thee
Is known already.  Ah, me!
I had been thinking that
No one would know it.
                                       Mibu no Tadami.

42

Didst not thou promise,
With sleeves full of parting tears, thy heart
Would be safe like Suyeno Matsuyama
Where no billow comes?
                                       Kiyowara no Motosuke.

43

Oh, to think the sad heart of mine
After meeting with thee!
No sorrow I had
In the olden time.
                                       Gonchunagon Atsutada.

44

Oh, if there were no meeting
And loving!  I should have
Nothing to resent,
Nothing of myself and others.
                                       Chunagon Asatada.

45

There's no one to say
Even a word of pity on me.
Oh my lover lost!
What a misery of my life!
                                       Kentokuko.

46

The boatman of the Yura strait
Lost his rudder, and knows not
How to cross!
Oh the way of love!
                                       Sone no Yoshitada.

47

My hut with Yaemugura
Thickly grown is sad:
Here nobody will be seen,
But Autumn has come.
                                       Yekei Hoshi.

48

A crushed wave I am
against the rock, in storm:
Oh, these days!
What a lonely thought of mine!
                                       Minamoto no Shigeyuki.

49

Through the night the Mikakimori guards
Burn the fire: Oh, my heart!
But the fire will die in day:
Oh, my dying thought!
                                       Onakatomi Yoshinobu Ason.

50

For thee, I thought,
I would not mind about my life:
But I pray now to be
Given the longest life.
                                       Fujiwara no Yoshitaka.

51

How could I tell thee
My burning heart?
(Ah, my heart burning as under
In Ibuki Moxa's sting!)
                                       Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason.

52

Day will be followed by
The darkness of night when I shall meet thee,
And yet I do hate
The breaking of dawn.
                                       Fujiwara no Michinobu Ason.

53

What a long time
To the dawn
When I weep through the night,
And sleep alone!
                                       Mother of Udaisho Michitsuna.

54

To vow for the future long
With faith and unforgetfulness would be
Too hard.  Oh, I pray,
To-day, to have my life done!
                                       Mother of Gido Sanshi.

55

'Tis long time now since.
The waterfall ceased its voice,
But the fame does run,
And is to be heard still.
                                       Dainagon Kinto.

56

Who knows when I shall die!
Oh, for pity's sake,
I pray to see thee
Once more!
                                       Izumi Shikibu

57

I met him by chance,
And I parted from him ere I could tell
Who he was.  Alas, passedin the cloud
The midnight moon!
                                       Murasaki Shikibu.

58

(The wind may blow
From Arima Hill and Inano bamboo bush.)
Ah, passing wind of thy love!
But how could one forget thee!
                                       Daini no Sanmi

59

I should not wait for him,
But go to sleep.  Alas, I have been gazing
Upon the moon in deep night
Till she begins to fall.
                                       Akazome Yemon.

60

'Tis far away to Ohoye mountain,
And to Ikuno plain.  I have never stepped
In Ama no Hashidate yet.
(Alas, no letter I have seen!)
                                       Koshikibu no Naishi.

61

'Tis the eight-folded cherry blossom
Of Nara capital of yore:
To-day in this nine-folded palace
It will shed its perfume.
                                       Ise no Osuke.

62

Thou might'st try to cheat me,
With the false voice of a bird,
But the Ausaka gate
Shall not allow thee in.
                                       Seisho nagon.

63

Alas, there's no way
But to ask one to tell thee
That we will try
To forget.
                                       Sakyo no Tayu Nichimasa.

64

From amid the Uji river the mists fade
At early morn,
The fisher's net stakes begin
to appear, here and there.
                                       Gonchunagon Sadayori.

65

From my resentment, in tears
My sleeves are drenched.
What a shame to ruin my name
In such an empty love!
                                       Sagami.

66

Be sad with me,
Oh, mountain cherry blossom!
I have no one
Knows my heart but thee.
                                       Saki no Daisojo Gyoson.

67

For a short while,—short
Like a Spring night dream, in taking
Thy arm for my pillow, what a shame
To have a bad rumor rise!
                                       Suwo no Naishi.

68

In spite of myself, I am
Lingering in this world:
Ah, what longing
For the midnight moon!
                                       Sanjo no In.

69

The Mimuro Mountain maple leaves
In blowing storm,
Weave the blockade
For the Tatsuda stream.
                                       Noin Hoshi.

70

From loneliness I wander
Out of my own home:
Lo, 'tis the same everywhere
This Autumn eve!
                                       Ryosen Hoshi.

71

At eve,
By the ashi grass hut,
The Autumn gusts pass, calling on
The gate-side rice plant leaves.
                                       Dainagon Tsunenobu.

72

'Tis known to the world,
Ah me, the fickle waves
Of the Takashi strand do drench
One's sleeves with spray.
                                       Yushi Naishinnoke Kii.

73

On Takasago Mountain
The cherry trees are blossoming:
The mists from the other hills
Shall not rise, I pray.
                                       Saki no Chunagon Masafusa.

74

Oh, did I pray
The Hatsuse mountain blast,
Nay, his heartlessness, to be furious?
Nay, I did not!
                                       Minamoto no Toshiyori Ason.

75

The sasemo's life is a dew.
Ah me!  Where's thy promise?
Autumn of this year
Is passing away.
                                       Fujiwara no Mototoshi.

76

Over the expanse of sea
I row.  Behold the far-away sky,
Nay, the billows white
In the distance!
                               Hoshoji Nyudo Sakino-kanpaku Dajodaijin.

77

Like a hurrying, rock-hurling mountain stream
I wish to be: its double torrents
Will meet in the end.
Oh the way of love!
                                       Shutokuin.

78

By the cry of the plovers
That frequent Awazi isle,
How many nights art thou awakened,
Guard of the Suma gate?
                                       Minamoto no Kanemasa.

79

From the rifts of the clouds
Drifting abroad in the Autumn wind,
What a clear shadow
Of the peeping moon!
                                       Sakyo no Tayu Akisuko.

80

My heart, I pray,
To last long.  Ah, this tangle
Of the black tresses of mine!
Ah, my anxiety of this morn!
                                       Taiken Moin no Horikawa

81

Behold
The sky where the cuckoo sung!
There remains
Only the morning moon.
                                       Gotoku Daiji Sadaijin.

82

And I have my life still
Under wretchedness of thought,
But my own tears alone
Under sadness cannot stand.
                                       Doin Hoshi.

83

Alas, 'tis the world;
There's no way to follow,
Even into the deep of a hill
The deer's cry I hear.
                                       Kotai Kogu no Tayu Toshinari.

84

Were I to linger longer in life,
The present days would grow dear again:
Oh, now I long for
The days I deemed sad in past.
                                       Fujiwara no Kiyosuke Ason.

85

All the night long I thought
it will never dawn:
Even the chink of my chamber door
Is heartless to me, not inviting the morn.
                                       Junei Hoshi.

86

The moon has nothing to make
Me think and cry,
But, alas, my own tears alone
Do lament and fall.
                                       Saigyo Hoshi.

87

The dews of the passing shower
Are not yet dried.
Lo, the mist rising up
Toward the maki leaves, this Autumn eve!
                                       Jakuren Hoshi.

88

'Twas a short one night love
At the Naniwa shore.  (Short 'twas
Like a joint of the shore reed.)
Why do I long, exhausting me so?
                                       Koka Monin no Betto.

89

Oh, thread of my life,
Be torn off now if it must!
I fear in longer life
My secret would be hard to keep.
                                       Shikishi Naishiuno

90

I might show thee
How the Oshima island fishers' sleeves
Never change their tints, though wet through.
But, alas, tearful sleeves of mine!
                                       Inpuku Monin no Osuke.

91

List, the crickets sing!
Upon the mat of the frost night,
I, my raiment not yet unbound,
Have to sleep alone.
                                    Gokyogoku Sessho Sakino Dajodaijin.

92

My sleeves are like
The wide sea rocks unseen
Even at the lowest tide.  Nobody would know
That their tears never dry.
                                       Nijonoin Sanuki.

93

Let my life be so!
Oh, to be carried away by the sight
Of a fisherman's yawl at the shore,
And by his hauling of the net.
                                       Kamakura no udaijin.

94

Down Miyoshino the Autumn wind blows,
The night is deep;
The beating sound of cloth
From my mountain home is cold.
                                       Sangi Masatsune.

95

Ah, to save the sad world,
Dare I attempt!
At this Wagatatsu Soma,
See my black-robed sleeves!
                                       Sakino Daisojo Jiyen.

96

'Tis not the stormy snow
Luring the garden flower,
But what is faling fast
Is nothing but my own self.
                                       Nyudo Sakino Dajodaijin.

97

Ah, my heart pining
Like fire heats the salt water
In the evening calm of Matsuho shore!
Wouldn't my love come?
                                       Gonchunagon Sadaiye.

98

The evening breeze blows
On the Nara tree stream.  To see
The Misogi feast might be the sign
Of Summer not yet gone.
                                       Junii Iyetaka.

99

I prize him,
I resent him too,
I deem this world miserable.
What wandering thought of mine?
                                       Gotoba no In.

100

Alas, the palace!
See the Shinobu vine
On the olden eaves!  Oh, what longing
For the by-gone days!
                                       Juntokuin.


Notes

For a bilingual version of the poems see Ogura Hyakunin Isshu at University of Virginia, based on Clay MacCauley (see below)

Other translations:

On Hyakunin Isshu: