Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Bit by bit a narrow path was formed beneath
the apple orchard’s trees and when you asked
whose first steps does that remember
your question was my treasure

Shimazaki Tōson

From Wakanashū, 1987. The last stanza of Hatsukoi, “First Love,” which is four stanzas of four lines each. Tōson, a Meiji poet of new-style verse, wrote, with some exaggeration, of how he and his first love had so many meetings in the orchard that their goings and comings had worn a little path whose origin was known only to them. The poem seems rather affected now but when it was written young people were thrilled by its modernity, including the theme of young lovers meeting in an apple orchard. The first stanza was: “You’d just begun to wear your hair up / when I saw you beneath the apples / You seemed as much a flower / as the flowers of the comb you wore in your hair” (Mada agesomeshi maegami no / ringo no moto ni mieshi toki / mae ni sashitaru hanagushi no / hana aru kimi to omoikeri).

林檎畑Ringobatakenokonoshitani
おのづからonozukaraなるnaru細道hosomichiwa
taga踏みそめしfumisomeshiかたみkatamizoto
問いたまふtoitamōこそkosoこひしけれkoishikere

島崎藤村(しまさきとうそん)

『若菜集』(明三十)所収。四行四連の詩「初恋」最終連。りんご畑でしばしば待ち合わせるうちに、二人だけの思い出の小道ができたということを、明治の新体詩人はやや誇張的にこう歌った。今読めばむしろ技巧が鼻につく感じだが、当時の青年子女にとっては、りんご畑の逢引きという題材そのものも含めて、胸ときめく思いのする新風で愛誦された。第一連は「まだあげ初めし前髪の/林檎のもとに見えしとき/前にさしたる花櫛の/花ある君と思ひけり」。