Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Sound of drops

from the docked boart’s roof

the night dizzile

turn to snow

 

Murata Harumi

From Kotojiri Shū. Titled “New Snow on the Canal,” this tanka depicts an evening scene on one of the canals that wound their way through old Edo. Toma, “roof,” was woven matting of rush or sedge used as a covering for boats and shacks. The sound of the word toma itself echoes against that of tomaribune,”docked boat.” The repetitive sound of drops dripping from the thatch cover of a boat tied to shore winter, thismust have been one of the everyday sounds of life in old Edo. Harumi was a scholar and man of letters of Kamo no Mabuchi’s line. Heir to a large fish wholesaler’s in Nhonbashi Kobuna-chō, hi was prodigal son who almost ruined his family’s fortune, but he was known far wide for his literary talent.

とまり舟tomari bune苫のしずくの音絶えてtoma no shizuku no oto taete夜半のしぐれぞ雪になりゆくyowa no shigure zo yuki ni nariyuku/rt>

村田春海(Murata Harumi)

『琴後集』所収。「水路新雪」と題。江戸市中に引かれた運河のほとりの夜景だろう。「苫」はスゲやカヤで編み、舟や小屋を覆うようにしたもの。「とまり舟」(岸に停泊中の舟)に「苫」の音を響かせている。しぐれのしずくの音がいつしか消え、雪に変わっている静けさ。昔の江戸の情趣はこのようなものだった。春海は賀茂真渕門の学者・文人。日本橋小舟町の大きな魚問屋に生まれ、若いころ放蕩の余り家産を傾けたが、文才は一世に鳴り響いた。