Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

The Golden crow lights the houses in the west

And drumbeats hurry my short life on

There are no hosts or guests on

 the road to death:

Tonight I leabe my home, to venture there

Ōtsu no Miko

From Kaifuso, the oldest extant collection of Chinese verse made in Japan. The author, son of Emperor Tenmu, was gifted n the arts of peace and war, with a special talent for poetry. After the death og his father, hi was one of the leading contenders for fomenting rebellion. This poem was written on the last day of his life. Kin’u,”Golden crow,” is the sun. The sun sets, its light spreading west, and the drum that announces night echoes as though further hastening the end of road to death, “no hosts ot guests.” Alone, Ileave my home and set off on that distant journey.

金烏西舎に臨らひKin'u seisha ni terai鼓声短命を催す泉路賓主無しKosei tanmei wo unagasu Senro hinshu nashi此の夕家を離りて向かふKono yube ie wo sakarite mukau