Posted by Marie on Friday, March 27, 2009 in ,
On Seeing the Body of a Man Lying among the Stones on the Island of Samine in Sanuki Province
Kakinomoto Hitomaro

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

O the precious land of Sanuki,
Resting where the seaweed glows
like gems!
Perhaps for its precious nature
I never tire in my gazing on it,
Perhaps for its holy name
It is the most divine of sights.
It will flourish and endure
Together with the heavens and earth,
With the shining sun and moon,
For through successive ages it has
come down
That the landface is the face of a god.

Having rushed our ship upon the breakers
From the port of Naka,
We came rowing steadily until the wind
That rises with the tides
Stormed down from the dwelling of
the clouds -
Looking back upon the open sea
I saw waves gather in their mounting
And looking off beyond the prow
I saw the white waves dashing on
the surf.

In awe of the terrible sea,
Where whales are hunted down as prey,
We clutched the steering oar,
Straining the plunging ship upon its
And though here and there
We saw the scattered island coasts
To dash upon for safety,
We sought haven on rugged Samine,
The isle so beautiful in name.
Erecting a little shelter, we looked about,
And then we saw you:
Pillowed upon your shaking beach,
Using those wave-beaten rocks
As if the coast were spread out for
your bedding;
On such a rugged place
You have laid yourself to rest.

If but I knew your home,
I would go tell them where you sleep;
If your wife but knew this place,
She would come here searching for you,
But knowing nothing of the way -
The way straight as a jeweled spear -
How must she be waiting,
How anxiously now longing for you,
She do dear who was your wife.

If your wife were here,
She would be out gathering your food,
She would pick the greens
From the hill slopes of Samine -
But is their season not now past?

So you now rest your head,
Pillowed on the rocky spread-out bedding
Of this rugged shore,
While the furious, wind-driven surf
Pounds ever in form off the sea.



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