Saturday, April 21, 2007

4/21/1689: Basho's Blog from the Narrow Road

As the restless days of travel were piling up, we came at last to the Shirakawa Barrier, and my unsettled feelings gave way to calm. It surpasses what Taira Kanemori implied when he wrote from here, "If I could but convey" To those at home some hint of this." One of the three barriers in the northeastern provinces, Shirakawa has always had special appeal to poets and other men of letters. The richly leaved branches were the more precious because the autumn wind heard by Priest Noin still lingers in the ears, and an image remains of its famous scarlet autumn leaves. The white hydrangeas are pale as linin and the wild rose blossoms vie with them for whiteness, the whole giving the feeling of snow in its coloring. Fujiwara Kiyosuke has set down how a man came to this barrier and tidied his headgear before he would cross it.
The white hydrangeas
Enough to deck the head with fancy dress
For crossing the barrier.

trans by Miner

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