Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

In spring’s soft

Shining light a skylark

Rose and sadness

Been tnding my thoughts alone


From Man’yōshu, the last poem of Scroll 19. Composed on the 25th day of the second lunar month of the year 753. Now that on a leisurely spring day, a small bird cried out again and again, and his heart overflowed with feeling; nothing but poetry could relieve him. Yakamochi, it is thought, was in his mid-thirties at that time. Two years before, after five years as governor of the post of the province of shōnagon and had returned to Nara, the capital. We cannot know to what the spring melanchory of this 8th century noble at the peak of his powers was due, but his emotion still moves to us now, and this poem is enjoyed as one of his best.

うらうらにuraura ni照れる春日tereruharubini雲雀あがりhibariagari情悲しもkokorokanasimo独りhitorishiおもへばomoeba