Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

In the sea of heaven
cloud waves rise and
the moon boat sails
into a forest of stars,
then is seen no more


Kakinomoto no Hitomaro Poetry Collection

The first poem of Book Ⅶ, Miscellaneous Poems, of the Man’yōshū. The vast sea of heaven. And the clouds floating in it are high, foaming waves. The moon, a boat, crosses them, and disappears into a forest of stars. Of the many beautiful descriptive poems in the Man’yōshū this is one of the more unusual. I like the metaphor “a forest of stars.” Someone in ancient times may have liked at the moon boat crossing the heavenly sea and fantasized something like a UFO come from a far-off star.




『万葉集』巻七雑歌冒頭。広大な天の海。そこに浮かぶ雲は、立つ白波だ。月の船がそこを渡って、星の林に隠れてゆく。『万葉集』にはすぐれた叙景歌が多いが、中での異色作。「星の林」という見立てかたが面白い。原文の万葉仮名は「天海丹 雲之波立 月船 星之林丹 榜隠所見」。天海を漕ぎ渡る月船を見ながら、他の星からくるUFOのごとき物体を夢みた古代人もいたかもしれない。