After the death of the Emperor Tenmu

We present this work in honor of the 1,320th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Empress Jitō
645 – 703


Oh, the autumn foliage
Of the hill of Kamioka!
My good Lord and Sovereign
Would see it in the evening
And ask of it in the morning.
On that very hill from afar
I gaze, wondering
If he sees it today,
Or asks of it tomorrow.
Sadness I feel at eve,
And heart-rending grief at morn –
The sleeves of my coarse-cloth robe
Are never for a moment dry.

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