17

Lying in my bed I listen as it sings of the far-off past: a mosquito

寝て聞けば遠き昔を鳴く蚊かな

nete kikeba tōki mukashi o naku ka kana

(Ozaki Hōsai 尾崎放哉)

*

A mosquito, ka, is a season word associated with summer. The scene is probably one where the poet is within a mosquito net (a summer season word in its own right) while the mosquito flies around it trying to find a way in. This type of scene has a long history in Japanese poetry and literature, hence the association with the distant past.

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Nippoem

Journal of Japanese Poetry Translation

All rights reserved to Dan Bornstein

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