I was in Germany for the winter holidays when I wrote this. I do not remember the winter thunder storm. I do, however, remember visiting these monuments in Eguchi, Osaka. This play became the topic of my Master’s thesis. (Last edited on January 27, 2022.)
Tübingen, Germany This morning, from the window in the living room, the rising sun could be seen just above the mountains in the distance. Above the sun, dark clouds, their undersides faintly lined in gold. Then suddenly snow started falling in sheets like rain, lightning flashed, and thunder followed. Today is not a day I want to be outside, walking through the changeable weather.
In the Shin kokin waka shū (c. 1205 New anthology of Japanese poems past and present), a pair of poems exchanged by Saigyō and a courtesan (yūjo in Japanese) on a rainy evening comes to mind. Or rather, these poems, as incorporated in the nō Eguchi, have been on my mind for the last few months, since they comprise a core component of my thesis, but for now I’ll set the thesis aside, because I really just want to tell you the story of these poems as I see it.
Saigyō gave the first poem to a courtesan who had refused him lodging on a rainy evening.
Yo no naka wo itou made koso katakarame kari no yadori wo oshimu kimi kana
To hate the world is hard, but you deny me a moment’s shelter?Shin kokin waka shū (Vol. 10, Travel poems) Poem 978 by Saigyō (original lightly modified for clarity)
Yo wo itou hito to shi kikeba kari no yadori ni kokoro wo tomu na to omou bakari zo
Hearing you hate the world, I simply thought you should not set your heart on a moment’s shelter.Shin kokin waka shū (Vol. 10, Travel poems) Poem 979 by a courtesan (yūjo) named Tae (original lightly modified for clarity)