Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Amoung water birds

the wild ducks have wings

the color of spring hills…

now gone, is how I think of you

Kasa no Iratsume

From Man’yōshū, Book VIII, Spring Love.

There are many love poems in the Man’yōshū ,but some think that those Ksa no Iratsume wrote to Ōtomono Yakamochi, of which is one, are the best of all. From mizutori no to haruyama no (“Among water birds …spring hills”) is a joshi or introductory phrase for ohotsukana (the modern obotsukana). The spring hills are the deep green of the wild duck’s feathers, but because of the spring mists their color can only be seen dimly. Your feelings are just an unclear, she says, and in my misery I do not know where to turn. A wonderfully fresh metaphor.

水鳥のmizutori no鴨の羽色のkamo no hairo no春山のharuyama noおほつかなくもohotsukanakumo思ほゆるかもomohoyuru kamo

笠 女郎(かさのいらつめ)

『万葉集』第八巻の相聞。作者が大伴家持に送った恋歌は、たくさんある万葉恋歌の中でも一頭地を抜く観があるものだが、これもそのひとつ。「水鳥の……春山の」は「おほ(おぼ)つかな」にかかる序詞。春の山が鴨の羽根の色のように深緑の色になっているが、そこに春霞がかかっているため色が全体にぼんやり薄れて見える、そのようにあなたの気持ちもはっきりせず、切ないほど頼りないというのである。比喩の新鮮さが無類。