Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Ancient ages

were like this too

My heart in pain becomes

a giant white bird

ascends the sky

Yosano Hiroshi

From aigikoe (Poems of love, 1910). This collection, for which Hiroshi chose about a thousand “short verses,” or tanshi (his word for the tanka then) from all those he had written since 1902, was the most important tanka collection of the Myōjō school in its later period. In his preface to it, Mori Ōgai bestowed heart-felt praise. Hiroshi’s literary reputation then and bow suffered unjustly in comparison to the high esteem accorded his wife Akiko, but as a poet of the sublime, he was unique among his contemporaries. In the tragic sonority of this poem, he expresses his own emotion through the legend of the ancient hero Prince Yamato Takeru, whose soul when he died turned into a huge white bird and flew off into the sky.

いにしへもinishie mo斯かりき心いたむときkakariki kokoro itamu toki大白鳥となりて空行くōshiratori to narite sora yuku

与謝野寛(Yosano Hiroshi)

『相聞』(明四三)所収。明治三十五年以降八年間の短詩(寛は当時短歌をこう呼んでいた)約一千を抜いて編んだのが『相聞』で、明星派後期最重要の歌集。森鴎外が心のこもった序文を寄せている。寛の評価は妻晶子の名声に対し不当に割り引かれているが、詩人としての気宇は同時代に抜きんでていた。これは、古代の英雄倭建命の魂魄が大白鳥に化し、空高く飛び去ったという伝説に心を託した朗々たる悲傷の歌。