Wild Geese: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「うきことを おもひつらねて かりがねの なきこそわたれ あきのよなよな」英語訳

Any other seasonal subjects for a poem? Yes, we have one. Wild geese. Have you ever seen a flock of wild geese in the sky or hear them honking? Here is a waka about that imagery.


うきことを おもひつらねて かりがねの なきこそわたれ あきのよなよな
ukikotowo omoitsuranete kariganeno nakikoso watare akino yona yona

wild geese
flying and honking
a string of worries
one after another
night after night

A flock of wild geese fly in tight formation, honking because of a series of troubled thoughts, night after night.

A flock of wild geese in flight used to be a common sight throughout Japan. The arrival of migrant geese was once a sign of the new season. Japanese people loudly boast the land’s beauty of nature but we have lost much of it in numerous parts of the country. Lyricism emerges when a poet develops an imagery of nature in expressing their emotions with a 31-word constraint. Many of the songs from Kokinshu lead us to look back with great nostalgia.

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