Sugawara Takesue no Musume

(1009 - 1070 / Japan)

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This author's name means "daughter of Sugawara no Takasue"; she was born in Kyoto but raised in the east when her father was an assistant governor. In Sarashina nikki she tells her story from age 12 to about age 52. Until she was about 30, she tells us, she did little but read tales like Murasaki Shikibu's "Menji monogatari"; then for about five years she was at court as an ... more »

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Best Poem of Sugawara Takesue no Musume

Ah Me! Ah Me!

Ah, me! Ah, me! My weary doom to labour here in the Palace!
Seven good wine-jars have I - and three in my province.
There where they stand I have hung straight-stemmed gourds of the finest -
They turn to the West when the East wind blows,
They turn to the East when the West wind blows,
They turn to the North when the South wind blows,
They turn to the South when the North wind blows.
And there I sit watching them turning and turning forever-
Oh, my gourds! Oh, my wine-jars!

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