Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Briefly I slept
and saw
the one I love
Now I place my faith
in this thing called dreams

Ono no Komachi

Kokinshū, Book Ⅻ, Love 2. Komachi is considered one of the Six Poetic Immortals and an example of the misfortunes that beauty can bring. But in fact little is known of her life; the only records we have are her poignant and beautiful poems. Book Ⅻ of the Kokinshū begin with three poems by Komachi, of which this is one. All three are about brief dreams; doubtless the compilers planned this consciously. Komachi alludes to the then-popular belief that dreaming of the person you loved meant that he or she desired you. The poem’s undercurrent is a lament that although she once met her lover in a dream, now he never comes, not even in dreams.