Written in 8th century Japan, this poem speaks of the longing of love shadowed by impending death, and it is as relevant today as it was then. I discovered this poem in The Picador Book of Funeral Poems, and then stumbled on it again in an old paperback on my bookshelf, The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse. It was written by Lady Heguri in mid-late eighth century. No details are known of her, except that her poems are addressed to Yakamochi.
‘A thousand years, you said,
As our two hearts melted.
I look at the hand you held
And the ache is too hard to bear.’
‘The Picador Book of Funeral Poems’ ed. by Don Paterson
Read these other excerpts, and perhaps find a new poet to love:-
‘Runaways’ by Daniela Nunnari
‘Winter Song’ by Wilfred Owen
‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ by Michael Ondaatje
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘A thousand years, you said’ by Lady Heguri https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3dS via @SandraDanby