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SEIHAKU, Irako


Wandering

At reed-door blows the autumn wind;

How bleak the river inn.

The pitiable traveller

Looks up at evening sky

And softly starts to sing.

His long-departed mother's face,

A fair maid's once again,

Appears upon the moon;

His long-departed father's form,

Become a child's again,

Spreads 'cross the Milky Way

In glimpses through the willow-trees

The river, pale in the night,

And fields beyond, with rising smoke

The faint sound of a flute,

The traveller's breast does reach.

The valley-songs that ring from home

Are heard, cut short, and heard again

Their echoes from the sky combine

With groans from under earth

And blend in music deep

The mother of the traveller

Has lodged within him now

And to him in his youth, too, is

His father now descent.

And of the flute of hazy fields

One faint strain now remains

The traveller is singing still

Returning to his days of youth

Smiling, he is singing yet