Sunday, October 26, 2014

Newborn

I am as a calf
feeding on the wild earth
naked and clothed
old and young

living forever
before sin, before the fall,

here at rest
in your innocent arms


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Song They Sang

The spirits
Have gone away

But in these ruins
I hear the sacred sound
Of the song they sang





Original Text

Modern Text

Pronunciation




高市黒人
高市黒人
Takechi no Kuroto



樂浪乃
楽浪の
Sasanami no
國都美神乃
国つ御神の
Kunitsumi-kami no
浦佐備而
うらさびて
Ura sabite
荒有京
荒れたる都
Aretaru Miyako
見者悲毛
見れば悲しも
Mireba kanashimo

Translation Notes


Poem from Takechi no Kuroto , when he saw the ruined palace.

楽浪の
In sasanami
国つ御神の
The holy sprits
うらさびて
Become vanished
荒れたる都
Ruined place
見れば悲しも
Become nostalgic to see ( ruined palace)

I Play the Song

Time has passed
And I am not the same

But in the wandering tune
Of this torn-up palace
I play the song of what has gone


“Sasama” is the name of the palace and literally means “music waves” or “music wandering.”





Original Text

Modern Text

Pronunciation




高市黒人
高市黒人
Takechi no Kuroto



古の
Inishie no
人尓和礼有哉
人に我れあれや
Hito ni Ware areya
樂浪乃
楽浪の
Sasanami no
故京乎
古き都を
Furuki Miyako wo
見者悲寸
見れば悲しき
Mireba kanashiki






Translation Notes


Poem from takechi no kuroto , when he saw the ruined palace.

古の
long time had passed already
人に我れあれや
I am the man who had lived the past time?  no
楽浪の
(But) in sasama
古き都を
Old palace
見れば悲しき
Become nostalgic to see (old palace)

A Gift from God

This tree grows
through all the rocks
that cover the spring field

rising through the mist
until it’s far into the sky
reaching beyond the heavens

providing strength
for generation after generation
a gift from God


Inspired by Manyoshu #29




Original Text

Modern Text

Pronunciation




柿本人麻呂
柿本人麻呂
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro



玉手次
玉たすき
Tama-Tassuki
畝火之山乃
畝傍の山の
Unebi no Yama o
橿原乃
橿原の
Kashihara no
日知之御世従
ひじりの御代ゆ
Hijiri no Miyoyu
阿礼座師
生れましし
Arema shishi
神之<>
神のことごと
Kami no Koto-goto
樛木乃
栂の木の
Tsuga no Ki no
弥継嗣尓
いや継ぎ継ぎに
Iya tsugi-tsugi ni
天下
天の下
Ame no Shita
所知食之乎
知らしめししを
Shirashi-meshishi wo
天尓満
そらにみつ
Sora ni mitsu
倭乎置而
大和を置きて
Yamato wo okite
青丹吉
あをによし
Ao ni yoshi
平山乎超
奈良山を越え
Nara-yama wo koe
何方
いかさまに
Ikasama ni
御念食可
思ほしめせか
Omoushi meseka
天離
天離る
Ama zakaru
夷者雖有
鄙にはあれど
Hina niha aredo
石走
石走る
Iwa bashiru
淡海國乃
近江の国の
Oomi no Kuni
樂浪乃
楽浪の
Sasa-nami no
大津宮尓
大津の宮に
Ootsu no Miyani
天下
天の下
Ame no Shita
所知食兼
知らしめしけむ
Shirashi-meshi kenu
天皇之
天皇の
Sumeroki no
神之御言能
神の命の
Kami no Mikoto no
大宮者
大宮は
Oomiya ha
此間等雖聞
ここと聞けども
Kokoto kikedomo
大殿者
大殿は
Ootono ha
此間等雖云
ここと言へども
Kokoto iedomo
春草之
春草の
Harukusa no
茂生有
茂く生ひたる
Shigeku oitaru
霞立
霞立つ
Kasumi tatsu
春日之霧流
春日の霧れる
Haruhi no kireru
百礒城之
ももしきの
Momoshiki no
大宮處
大宮ところ
Oomiya tokoro
見者悲<>
見れば悲しも
Mireba kanashimo






Notes


A poem by Kakimonoto no Hitomaro—he saw a ruined palace and became nostalgic. 

玉たすき
This word follows Umeri
畝傍の山の
around Umeri mountains
橿原の
At Kaziwara (place)
ひじりの御代ゆ
(There were) emperors who knew the moment for the things
生れましし
(they) Were born (there)
神のことごと
All gifted from the gods
栂の木の
As a strong tree
いや継ぎ継ぎに
(family was solid for) Generation and generation
天の下
Under the god
知らしめししを
(this family) knows everything
そらにみつ
As if growing to the sky(yamato)
大和を置きて
(They ) left Yamato
あをによし
Beautiful land (nara-yama)
奈良山を越え
(They) went beyond
いかさまに
How did they
思ほしめせか
Felt ( I wonder)
天離る
Away from the heaven
鄙にはあれど
In a countryside ,yet  ( あれど-yet)
石走る
The rocks are lining
近江の国の
In Ohmi county
楽浪の
At Sasanami (area)
大津の宮に
At Ohtsu palace
天の下
Their power (emperor)
知らしめしけむ
Governed
天皇の
Emperors’
神の命の
Holy spirits’
大宮は
palace
ここと聞けども
was here ( I had heard)
大殿は
Residence
ここと言へども
Were here ,though
春草の
Spring weed
茂く生ひたる
Is growing thick
霞立つ
There is a mist
春日の霧れる
The view is not clear on a spring day
ももしきの
This word leads 大宮
大宮ところ
The place
見れば悲しも
( feel) nostalgic, to see ( the palace)

  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Veil

Dreaming of your bosom,
I slip into the soft night,
painted by a brush
with the gray moonlight.

Silk and satin, covering my gaze
like curtains that hide
the embers of desire—
you smile at my madness.

Each pulse begets the night,
and each kiss engraves upon
a stone tablet that lives
for a thousand years.

Your shadow flickers
like the snow that falls upon a petal,
the white purity in tune
with the midnight moon.

How I shudder before
the secrets you veil
as I drift into the sound
along the river to paradise.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Gracious Field

Emperor Tenmu (d. 686)

   
Gentle men have praised
With great and goodly words
This gracious field

So gorgeously gazed upon
By the good men here





Original Text

Modern Text

Pronunciation




大海人
大海人
Ooshi Aama no Mikoto
(Emperor Tenmu)



淑人乃
淑き人の
Yoki hito no
良跡吉見而
よしとよく見て
Yoshi to yoku mite
好常言師
よしと言ひし
Yoshi to iishi
芳野吉見<>
吉野よく見よ
Yoshino yoku mi yo
良人四来三
良き人よく見
Yoki-hito yoku mi


Translation Notes


A poem by Emperor Tenmu (d. 686), written when he visited Yoshino

淑き人の
Gentle/noble people ’s [wise men from the past]
よしとよく見て
Well often observed [very carefully observed]
よしと言ひし
Good/pleasing said-it-was [found goodness (in Yoshino)]
吉野よく見よ
Yoshino well observe [“Yoshino” literally means “blessing field” or “good-luck field”]  
良き人よく見
Good men well observe [wise men from this era]

Yoshio-Nara prefecture, Yoshino Province area. This poem repeatedly puns with variations of “good,” all beginning with “Yo,” in line with the literal meaning of “Yoshino,” which is also considered a holy mountain. In this way, the poem can be considered a kind of playful prayer or blessing. The extensive use of puns, however, makes it difficult for the translation to give the sense of the poem in Japanese.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Little Dreams

In a house beyond the woods
she lies with the sun, immersed in the light
that filters in through maple leaves.

Child of light, she climbs the hills
of sight, leaf-by-leaf, strung up along a river
lined in green—but the water does not move.

Summer’s at a peak and clouds of black
swirl above her head as she sinks into
the clay puddles beneath her feet.

The moon calls out for a bride; she opens
her arms to the night like a fairy in the gray
light, sending flowers to a star-filled sky.

The lake is swollen now—she gathers all
the water lilies, one-by-one, into her womb,
in a race that will never be won.

The plague has left scars around her feet,
worn by the march of a long winter,  tortured endlessly,
as she pushes a stone for spiteful gods.

All rise from the evening pond, painted
in the night sky watercolors of nostalgia,
leaving violets in the wake of forgotten memories.

Adrift, content in a world of sleep,
snug within the warmth of silk pajamas,
she touches the branches that carry her name.

Worshiping by the fire, leaving burnt offerings
between the chants and incense, the smoke
of her spirit rejoins the world.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bohemia

Filling me, the scent
of cedars and pines
along the rocks of centuries,
the beaches of summers
that have never ceased.

Sometimes soft, sometimes hard,
a dance of water and stone
in the murmur
of soulful woods.

In ancient times
there were kings and knights
and endless bloodlines
that are now a memory.

I slip between the rays
of speckled radiation
filtered through the leaves
of the forest’s secret places.

Panthers and bears,
the howl of the pack,
alone without armor
beneath a sky of leaves.

I call to my ancestors
who drifted through the forests
and plains of ancient Europe,
filling the abandoned land
with settlements.

In the ancient woods
it is all a dream
but this song of the pipe
has never stopped playing.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Halting

Halting hands, a kiss
that misses the mark, discarded as
a thrift store donation.

Always the view turns
in this kaleidoscope world,
the skin of her and I as one.

I journey through the shadows
to join a congress of fire, and melt
into the dream state of desire.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shadow

the city has shadows,
she walks the cobbled streets

gray branches, leaves,
the trash beneath her feet

cold and silent, a siren sounds
and she drowns in a dream too sweet

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Rose

I wrote a poem about a rose
as many have done before
but this rose was withered, cracked
and when the arctic wind
brushed down to kiss her lips
she crumbled and blew away




Friday, February 28, 2014

The Phantom Sings

Dancing on the moor
The little creatures
Shaped like dwarves

I drink, and drink some more
Amid the wild grass
And chilling sound
Of children yelling as they play

Who is he? Who is he?
The phantom sings today

Drinking cider, sipping sweet
The spring delights
Of roses blowing
The scent of things undone

White beard, happy belly,
Cup of wine
That dances as I sway

Who is he? Who is he?
The phantom sings today

Little people
Marching through the woods
Telling tales of long lost dead

Give me a mistress
Give me a wife
In love with the sea
In love with the princess I pray

Who is he? Who is he?
The phantom sings today



Inspired by Gabriel Vicaire's "Le Korandon"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

That Space Between

searching for peace
in a forest of beasts

when what we seek
is cloaked within
the shadows and light

in a world of day
a world of night


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Together

embedded in the sun
I sail the dawn river

drifting for the shore
where light and touch

become a single point
and two lives enfold

together as one




Friday, February 21, 2014

The Beautiful Egyptian (a translation)

Dark deity, whose black splendor
Shines a fire that burns us all:
The snow is nothing,
Your ebony defeats the ivory.

From darkness comes the splendor of glory,
And I have seen in your eyes, I dare not speak,
An African love preparing to fly,
An ebony bow that rides to victory.

Demonless witch, seer of what’s to come,
Who reads in her palm what we’ve come to see
And charms the senses in a look:

You seem to have learned the future,
But do not amuse yourself with adventure:
Dark deity, bring it to us.


Georges de Scudéry, translated by Frank Watson



Original French


La Belle Egyptienne


Sombre divinité, de qui la splendeur noire
Brille de feux obscurs qui peuvent tout brûler :
La neige n'a plus rien qui te puisse égaler,
Et l'ébène aujourd'hui l'emporte sur l'ivoire.

De ton obscurité vient l'éclat de ta gloire,
Et je vois dans tes yeux, dont je n'ose parler,
Un Amour africain, qui s'apprête à voler,
Et qui d'un arc d'ébène aspire à la victoire.

Sorcière sans démons, qui prédis l'avenir,
Qui, regardant la main, nous viens entretenir,
Et qui charmes nos sens d'une aimable imposture :

Tu parais peu savante en l'art de deviner ;
Mais sans t'amuser plus à la bonne aventure,
Sombre divinité, tu nous la peux donner.


Georges de Scudéry