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

大津皇子(おおつのみこ)

現存最古の日本漢詩集『懐風藻』所収。天武帝皇子で文武にひいで、詩も和歌も抜群の天分を示したという。天武帝崩御後の皇位継承の有力候補だったが、反逆罪の汚名のもとに謀殺された。二十四歳の臨終の詩。「金烏」は太陽。「泉路」は死出の旅路。日は傾いて西の家を照らし、夕べの時を告げる鼓は私の短い命をさらにせきたてるように響く。よみ路には客も主人もない。私はただ独り、家を去って遠い旅に立つのだ。