Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Banner clouds

Trail over the sea, aglow

In the setting sun

May the moon tonight

Shine bright and clear

Prince Nakano Ōe

Man’yōshū, Scroll 1. The anthor later became the Emperor Tenji. This poem has long been enjoyed as a masterpiece of Man’yōshū, nature poetry, but there are still many puzzles surronunding hoe to pronounce its characters. The last line in particular is still subject of controversy. One of the more widly accepted akirakeku koso , so many people habe probably memorized it that way. But here, after consulting all the various theories, I decided to use the reading given above. Watatsumi is the broad expanse of the sea, such that it conveys asense of something divine. As it setts, the sun lights up the banner clouds that trail across that vastness. This spectacular scene invites the eye to imagine the clear, bright moon which will shine tonight.

わたつみのWatatsumi no豊旗雲にtoyohatagumo ni入日さしirihi sasi今夜の月夜koyoi no tsukiyo清明にこそmasayaka ni koso

中大兄皇子(なかのおおえのおうじ)

『万葉集』巻一。作者は後の天智天皇。万葉叙景歌中の秀逸として愛誦されるが、訓読には問題の多い歌でもある。特に結句の万葉仮名「清明己曾」は諸説があり、アキラケクコソという訓が比較的によく知られているので、その形で憶えている人も多いだろう。ここでは諸説を勘案して上の読みに従った。ワタツミは霊性を感じさせるほどの海原。その大らかに棚引く旗雲へ入日がさしている。この大景は、今宵の清らかな月明をすでに眼前にさし招いている。