Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

I wait and wait, an evening primrose

pining, fading―but he does not come

and even the moon does not appear.

Takehisa Yumeji

The first of the sixteen poems called “Daughters of Japan" in Takehisa's poetry collection of 1913, Dontaku. Yoimachigusa literally “evening-waiting grass,” is another name for ōmatsuyoigusa, a yellow flower which opens on summer evenings and fades away in the morning; it is also commonly known as tsukimisō, “moon-viewing grass.” The flower’s name expresses the emotions of a woman tired from waiting at night for her lover. The poem itself is the sort of pathetic feminine sigh that Yumeji liked. Its three lines were a successful rewriting of an original eight line poem which included the lines “Evening primrose heart uneasy / I told myself not to think of him but / in spite of that, these brimming tears.” (…Yoimachigusa no kokoromotonaki / omoumai to wa omoedomo / ware to shi mo naki tamenamida). Made into a song, it achieved great popularity and is still well-known.

まてど(Matedo)くらせど(kurasedo)こぬ(konu)ひと(hito)(wo)

宵待草(yoimachigusa)(no)やるせなさ(yarusenasa)

こよひ(koyoi)(wa)(tsuki)(mo)でぬ(denu)さう()(na)

竹久夢二(たけひさ ゆめじ)

詩集『どんたく』(大二)所収の「日本のむすめ」十六編の第一。宵待草は夏の夕方黄色い花を開き、朝にはしぼむオオマツヨイグサの異名で、俗には月見草ともいう。宵に恋人を待ちくたびれる女心を宵待草の名にかけて、夢二好みの清怨のためいきを歌う。はじめ「……宵待草の心もとなき/「おもふまいとは思へども」/われとしもなきため涙」云々の八行の詩だったものを、三行に改作して成功した。曲となり大いに愛唱されているのは周知の通りである。