Scoundrel Time

from The Hyakunin Isshu: A Hundred Poems by A Hundred Poets


Chigiriki na
Katami no sode wo
Shibori tsutsu
Sue-no-matsu yama
Nami kosaiji to wa

Kiyowara no Motosuke


We promised—
Holding onto each other;
While twisting each other’s sleeves,
Waves would never surge over
The pines on Mount Suenomatsu.


Translators Note:

The Hyakunin Isshu can be translated as “one hundred poets (or people), one poem.”  It is a one of the several venerable anthologies of Japanese poetry.  The Hyakunin was compiled by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) and the first full-color edition was published in 1775.  The poetry form is “waka” or “tanka.”


Wally Swist‘s books include include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love(Southern Illinois University Press, 2012), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2011 Crab Orchard Open Poetry Competition, and A Bird Who Seems to Know Me: Poems Regarding Birds and Nature, winner of the 2018 Ex Ophidia Poetry Prize. His recent poetry and translations appear in Asymptote, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Montreal Review, Poetry London, The Seventh Quarry Poetry Magazine (Wales), and Transom. He co-translated “The Postcards of Aneyakouji Street” with Masako Takeda, which also appeared as a series of illustrated postcards, and which were featured in “Modern Haiku.”


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