The Master-Singers of Japan, by Clara A. Walsh, , at sacred-texts.com
Kamo no Chōmei, the author of that charming little classic the "Hōjōki," written in A.D. 1212, was guardian of the Shinto shrine of Kamo in Kioto. He was appointed by the retired Mikado Go Toba to a post in the Department of Japanese Poetry. Being refused the succession to his father as superior guardian of Kamo, ho retired to a hermitage on Oharayama, near Kioto. He is the author of several essays on poetical subjects, and many poems.
By Kamo no Chōmei
Neither at twilight nor at grey of dawn,
Would I appear the sacred West to spurn,
Yet at this evening hour am I forsworn!
Though in the West the lingering glories burn,
Le! in the East I watch with reverent eyes,
Through purple mist, the full-orbed moon arise! p. 102
How can I help it! Though my face I turn
From the blest Regions * to the Eastern skies.
Since bright and clear the little river winds
Over its shining pebbles to the sea,
The fair moon seeks its limpid stream and finds
A mirror for her radiant purity.
Here, while I stand alone,
Shadows mysterious thrown
By the dark mountain pines
Lie at my feet.
At the clear moon I gaze,
Muse in a thousand ways
On what my soul divines
Dimly of life.
The scattered maple-leaves are blown
From wooded hill and mountain-side,
And in a rich confusion thrown,
Mass in the valley far and wide.
Hushed is the little streamlet's tone
By the red splendour on its tide.
The frosty moonlight cold and white
Shines it so clear, that we may see
Each maple-leaf float from its tree,
And weave a perfect tapestry
In silence of the Autumn night?
By Arakida Moritake (1472-1540)
Where the soft drifts lie
Of fallen blossoms, dying,
Did one flutter now,
From earth to its own brown bough?
Ah, no! ’twas a butterfly,
Like fragile blossom flying!
By Ochikochi no Mitsune
’Tis hard indeed to choose which bloom to pluck
Of all these gleaming white chrysanthemums,
So thickly spangled with the earliest frost!
By Matsunaga Teitoku (1564-1645)
Brief be my life as Heaven wills;
Give me, O gods, the true heart of a flower;
The morning-glory who fulfils
Her perfect destiny within the hour,
With the same energy that thrills
The sturdy fir-trees that for centuries tower!
’Tis now the season of the Harvest Moon.
Men gaze the livelong night, and sow the seed
That brings a sweet siesta on the morrow!
102:* The West Region of the Buddhist Paradise.