A [SPRING] Poem-a-Week (April 11)

I’m posting this a few days later than I intended to–classes started last week and I was just too busy. Since I missed my “one post per week” quota, WordPress started sending me nasty e-mails and calling me at work. If you were wondering what happened to all those people who used to work for Columbia House, well I guess they all found jobs at WordPress…!

 

山かすむ月一時に館立て Yama kasumu tsuki itsu toki ni ie tachite Spring mists rising from the mountain

shroud the evening moon above the hall

These poems I have been posting are all part of one massive linked-verse poetry session (think something along the lines of rapper’s freestyle-battle–that’s actually a pretty accurate comparison). The first poet, Kakei (荷兮), gave us the the initial stanza (in the 5-7-5 syllable pattern). The next poet, Jūgo (重五), gave us the 2nd stanza in a 7-7 syllable pattern continuing the spring theme introduced by Kakei. Now, the third poet, Ūto (雨桐), gives us the 3rd stanza again in the 5-7-5 syllable pattern.

Itsutoki/ittoki and ie gave me some problems. There meanings don’t precisely come out in my translation. Itsutoki/ittoki [一時] is about midnight to 2:00 am. (if I’m not mistaken…??) The other, ie [館] I just translated as “hall,” but it could mean a hall/large building on a temple-grounds, or a lodge for travelers.

Spring mists: I certainly think of mists/fog in spring. One morning at Susquehanna we were out on the river practicing, probably at around 6:00 or so. It was during the spring season, so it would’ve been March, maybe. We shoved off, rowed out about 700 meters or so, when all of a sudden this thick, thick fog rolled in. We couldn’t see a damn thing, like, not even the hands in front of our faces. Our coach was in a launch and told us to get back to the dock ASAP–we couldn’t even see him. It was pretty nerve-racking. Especially since the current is so strong there and because there is a massive dam/waterfall not far from the dock. If you over shoot the dock the current to the dam gets really strong, and unlike at Boathouse Row, there aren’t emergency/safety ropes to catch you (or rather, for you to catch and hold on to for dear life.)

 

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