Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

When the moon lights up
the Sea of Grebes
fall shows itself
even in the flowers
of the waves

 

Fujiwara no Ietaka

Shinkokinshū, Book IV, Autumn Poems 1. Nio no umi, “Sea of Grebes,” is Lake Biwa. Nami no hana, “flowers of the waves,” are whitecaps compared to flowers. The speaker is watching the subtle signs of autumn in the whitecaps on the lake. The rhythmicbeauty and precise imagery mark this as the work of a major poet of the Shinkokinshū. The poem alludes to one by Fun’ya no Yasuhide in the Kokinshū : “Grass and trees / change color / but for the whitecapped waves / upon the sea/there is no fall” (kusa mo ki mo / iro kawaredomo / watatsu-umi no / nami no hana ni zo / aki nakarikeru). Ietaka’s poem is, in effect, a challenge to Yasuhide’s assertion that there can be no fall or winter for the whitecaps whose color never changes. There is a striking difference between the two poets in how they sense and also express the world around them.

Nionoumiya
Tsukinohikarino
うつろへばutsuroeba
naminohananimo
akiwa見えけりmiekeri

藤原家隆(ふじわらのいえたか)

『新古今集』巻四秋歌上。「鳰の海」は琵琶湖のこと。「浪の花」は白波を花にたとえた。湖水の白波に忍び寄る秋を見ているのだが、調べの優美、影像の精緻、さすが新古今代表歌人の作である。この歌は『古今集』の文屋康秀の作、「草も木も色かはれどもわたつみの波の花にぞ秋なかりける」を踏んでいる。康秀が色の変わらぬ白波には秋も冬もないといったのに対し、家隆が果たしてそうかと応じた形。両者の感覚表現の差は歴然としている。