I’m exactly the same. In fact, if there is only one or two other people, I almost feel obliged to keep going, helps me not be lazy xD
As for this week’s poem, I chose 35. Quite randomly actually, because I really enjoyed all of this week’s selections.
I really didn’t find as much information about the poem as I wanted to, the poet seems much more famous instead though. Didn’t wanna write an actual essay on the guy (because I totally could have, seems to have been quite the man back in the day), so I kept it short and sweet.
35 人はいさ 心もしらず ふるさとは 花ぞ昔の 香ににほひける (紀貫之)
Ki no Tsurayuki was a noble man at court and very famous in classical Japanese poetry. He headed the compilers of the Kokinshuu, is one of the Thirty-six Immortals of Poetry, and is rumoured to have written the anonymously published famous Tosa Diary, in which he writes from a woman’s perspective. It is written entirely in kana and speaks of a journey in 935, starting in Tosa Province and detailing the trip back to Kyoto.
His essay, which served as the preface for the Japanese version of the Kokinshuu, was the first ever critical essay on waka. It included waka history spanning from its mythological origins, all the way to, at that time, contemporary forms; waka groupings based on genres; references to certain poets; and sometimes criticism towards predecessors.
Ki no Tsurayuki is mentioned in the Tale of Genji as a waka master.
Ki no Tomonori, who composed poem 33, is his cousin.
About the poem
This poem was featured in the Kokinshuu, with a headnote explaining how it came about. It is said that Ki no Tsurayuki visited a lodging house at Hase Temple, which had often visited when he was younger. There, he was told of for his long absence.
ふるさと in the poem, does not refer to ones place of birth here, but rather to a place one has previously lived, hence why it fits with it talking about a previously frequented temple.
The poem uses the nikugire technique after the second line, a full syntactic break.
This is techinically mentioned in the book, but I found it quite neat. So generally, when poets of the time would refer to blossoms, they would mean Sakura, but in this case it refers Ume. Apparently the fact that what it’s describing is the blossom’s scent, the reference switches from Sakura to Ume. Fascinating stuff.