Classical poetry of Japan: This fleeting world!

Classical poetry of Japan: This fleeting world!

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese poet Mibu no Tadamine belongs to the early Heian poetry scene that blessed Japan. However, very little is known about his life. Hence, the year of his birth and death remain open to dispute. Yet between 898-920, he was firmly established within the Heian poetry scene.

In a lovely poem below 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.

In another lovely poem by Mibu no Tadamine, he wrote:

At Sumiyoshi, a pleasant place,
The pines are washed over
By the whitecaps;
With their retreat
Are they left rootless, weeping wails?

The esteemed four court poets of Ki no Tsurayuki, Ki no Tomonori, Oshikochi no Mitsune, and Mibu no Tadamine collectively helped to compose the prestigious Kokinshū. Sadly, Ki no Tomonori died before full completion. However, with the guidance of Ki no Tsurayuki, the Kokinshū (an exquisite collection of Japanese poetry) would leave a lasting legacy.  

In the final poem, Mibu no Tadamine wrote:

What was once,
Is it still so dear?
For the cuckoo
To the home of yesteryear
Has come to sing.

Art by Sawako Utsumi – (ART PIECE NUMBER 2, 3, AND 4 BY SAWAKO UTSUMI) Art of Buddhism and Shintoism and Two Paths in the Snow

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