Hyakunin Isshu

I’ve been reading the Hyakunin Isshu today. It’s a collection of a hundred poems, each one by a different poet, from the days of imperial Japan. Probably the most famous collection of poetry ever written. Here are a few samples

Mibu no Tadamine
Like the morning moon,

Cold, unpitying was my love.

And since we parted,

I dislike nothing so much

As the breaking light of day.

 

Fujiwara no Asatada

If it should happen

That we never met again,

I would not complain;

And I doubt that she or I

Would feel that we were left alone.

 

Minamoto no Shigeyuki

Like a driven wave,

Dashed by fierce winds on a rock,

So am I: alone

And crushed upon the shore,

Remembering what has been.

 

Lady Horikawa
Is it forever

That he hopes our love will last?

He did not answer.

And now my daylight thoughts

Are as tangled as my black hair.

 

Emperor Gotoba
For some men I grieve;

Some men are hateful to me;

And this wretched world

To me, with all my sadness,

Is a place of misery.

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