Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

The ice on the lake
is melting but
it’s still cold
The crescent moon’s light
flickers over the waves

Shimagi Akahiko

From Taikyoshū (The Great Void,1924),this tanka is titled “On the Banks of Lake Suwa.” Akahiko’s house was (and still remains) on a piece of land looking down diagonally on Lake Suwa. This is one of the very best of the many excellent poems he left about the lake he loved. The ice that had completely covered the lake has begun to melt but it is still bitterly cold. The crescent moon hangs in the sky, thin as a thread. Its reflection on the waves gives off a shimmering light that can hardly be called light ――quiet, and of immeasurable depth.

みづうみ(Mizu-umi)(no) (kōri)(wa)解けて(tokete) なほ(nao)寒し(samushi) 三日月(Mikazuki)(no)(kage) (nami)(ni)うつろふ(utsurou)

島木赤彦(しまぎ あかひこ)

『太虗集』(大一三)所収。「諏訪湖畔」と小題にある。現在も同じ場所にあるが、赤彦の家は信州の諏訪湖を斜め前方に見おろせる位置にあった。彼は湖水を愛して数々の秀歌をのこしたが、中でも一、二を争うのがこの歌だろう。張りつめていた氷は少しずつ解けはじめたが、寒さはなお厳しい。空にかかった三日月が、糸のように繊細な姿を湖の波に映してたゆたっている。光ともいえぬ光を発して静まる、その幽遠の影。