On The First Day Of Spring

No. 2
紀貫之
はるたちける日よめる
袖ひちてむすびし水のこほれるを春立つけふの風やとくらむ

sode hijite musubishi mizu no kooreru wo haru tatsu kyou no kaze ya tokuramu Ki no Tsurayuki

Composed on "the first day of spring."

Waters I cupped my hands to drink, wetting my sleeves, still frozen: Might this first day of spring's wind thaw them? 

 The topic calls for anticipation of spring, never soon enough (compare poems on the coming of autumn, by contrast almost always arriving sooner than expected). The theme is an implied contrast between the calendar, which has announced the arrival of spring and its warm breezes (through an allusion, perhaps, to the Chinese Book of Rites), and the conceit of sleeves wet with water from the previous year's summer still frozen with winter's cold. The promise of spring remains unfulfilled but by taking the compass of three successive seasons the poet affirms his faith in the calendar.

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Thankyou jti.lib.va for this #poetry and html #poem source kindly hosted at http://jti.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/kokinshu/Cook/CookKok.EUC.bkp

No. 3