Jane Hirshfield

Nothing
in the world
is usual today.
This is
IzumiShikibu9the first morning.
*
Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.
*
Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.
*
Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I’d have no regret.
*
Sleeplessly
I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.

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3 Responses to Jane Hirshfield

  1. shinichi says:

    The Ink Dark Moon

    Love poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, women of the ancient court of Japan

    Translated by Jane Hirshfield

  2. shinichi says:

    Izumi Shikibu’s love poems

    Borzoi Reader

    Poem-A-Day

    http://poem-a-day.knopfdoubleday.com/2010/04/29/izumi-shikibu/

    Izumi Shikibu, born around the year 974, lived and wrote during the golden period of Japan’s Heian court. She was “committed to a life of both religious consciousness and erotic intensity,” the poet Jane Hirshfield and her translation partner Mariko Aratani tell us in the introduction to The Ink Dark Moon, their translations of ancient court love poetry. Though men of the time could take multiple wives and lovers and a woman could be wife to only one man, Heian women were able to own property and receive income, giving them the ability to choose their romantic fates with some independence and enjoy multiple affairs of the heart. Divorce was also possible, and was the outcome of Shikibu’s marriage to a provincial official when, while in service to a former empress at the court, she had a passionate affair with the empress’s stepson. Poems played a key role in such affairs (”the first intimation of a new romance for a woman of the court was the arrival at her door of a messenger bearing a five-line poem in an unfamiliar hand”), and in this climate, Shikibu wrote the verse that guaranteed her place as Japan’s major woman poet. Her famous Diary tells of her significant love affair with Prince Atsumichi. Their five-year relationship, which ended when he died, began with his gift of a spray of orange blossoms.

    Nothing
    in the world
    is usual today.
    This is
    the first morning.
    *
    Come quickly—as soon as
    these blossoms open,
    they fall.
    This world exists
    as a sheen of dew on flowers.
    *
    Even though
    these pine trees
    keep their original color,
    everything green
    is different in spring.
    *
    Seeing you is the thread
    that ties me to this life—
    If that knot
    were cut this moment,
    I’d have no regret.
    *
    Sleeplessly
    I watch over
    the spring night—
    but no amount of guarding
    is enough to make it stay.
    Learn more about The Ink Dark Moon

    In Memoriam
    Nina Bourne, the longtime advertising director of Knopf, died this month at the age of 93. As a young woman around New York, Nina also wrote light verse; click here to read two of Nina’s poems, originally published in The New Yorker.

  3. shinichi says:

    Picture:
    日本名筆選 25:針切・和泉式部続集切

    原本より直接撮影を実施。永年にわたる書画複製出版の経験と蓄積の全てを傾注した、理想の仮名手本シリーズ。針の先のように鋭い筆致から命名された針切は、相模集と源重之の子の僧の集を合綴した冊子の断簡。和泉式部続集切とともに平安後期の名筆を収める。
    [伝藤原行成]。

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