Classical poetry of Japan from bygone years: This fleeting world!
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Mibu no Tadamine is a Japanese poet who belongs to the early Heian poetry scene. In truth, not much is known about his actual birth and death. Thus, little is known about the things that reached his poetic heart. Despite this, his poems have passed the passages of time and remain of cultural importance in the realm of high culture.
In one adorable poem he wrote:
When in sleep –
Is only what we see then
To be called a dream?
This fleeting world, too,
I cannot see as reality.
It is known that Mibu no Tadamine was born in the ninth century but the exact date remains unknown. However, it is widely stated that he was an active poet of the Heian court between 898-920.
In another poem about the gradual bleakness of autumn he wrote gracefully:
In a mountain village
The autumn, especially,
The braying of the deer
Continually awakens me.
Mibu no Tadamine became so esteemed that he belongs to the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals. Hence, with so little known about his internal traits, then all that is left is his poems and legacy. Thus, the fog of life is similar to the fog of what is known about his life. Therefore, his words have even more potency!
In a lovely poem that reaches the heart he writes:
What was once,
Is it still so dear?
For the cuckoo
To the home of yesteryear
Has come to sing.
The four court poets of Ki no Tsurayuki, Ki no Tomonori, Oshikochi no Mitsune, and Mibu no Tadamine all helped to compose the famous Kokinshū. Sadly, Ki no Tomonori passed away before full completion. However, with the guidance of Ki no Tsurayuki, the Kokinshū (an exquisite collection of Japanese poetry) would leave a lasting legacy.
Art by Sawako Utsumi – http://sawakoart.com
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