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小鳥の歌 78

Mount Koya erupts
The monks of Mii-dera
Surging through the streets
From eve til dawn fires burn
Shut the garden gate and pray

Link: the light is there to fires burn

This poem was the result of a challenge: pretend for a moment that social media existed during your persona’s time period. What event would send them into a tweet storm, and what would that post look like? Bonus points awarded for posts under 140 characters.

Hey, that’s simple for tanka! Even more simple if written in Japanese. However, I got three lines in and my grammar failed me. Adjectival nouns are straight-forward (add な) but in Ancient Japanese, it would be なり, I think? Anyway, it didn’t scan. I need to study more. So this came out in English and not a stylish poem at all, but it fit the challenge.

The poem describes how the monks on Mount Koya, a holy place with several monasteries, used to occasionally get rowdy and riot through the streets of Kyoto, particularly towards the end of the Heian period. There were several monasteries involved, not all on Mount Koya. Mii-dera was just one of many.

小鳥の歌 76

A little bird sings
In the surrounding darkness
Only crickets chirp
The fireflies dance and die
My God it’s full of stars

link: glow of fireflies in the twilight to fireflies dance and die.

“My God it’s full of stars” is from Arthur C. Clarke’s Novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although widely believed to have been said in the movie, it actually wasn’t. I refer here to things I thought I heard, but were not actually said. That seems to happen to me a lot nowadays. I don’t like it.

The poem can be read forwards or backwards.