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北原白秋
Kitahara Hakushu
(1885 - 1942)


名は隆吉。福岡県柳川生れ。早大中退。与謝野寛夫妻の門に出入、「明星」「スバル」 に作品を載せ、のち短歌雑誌「多磨」を主宰。 「からたちの花」や「赤い鳥小鳥」などの童謡も有名。 詩集「邪宗門」「思ひ出」、歌集「桐の花」、童謡集「トンボの眼玉」など。
Born in Yanagikawa, Fukuoka Prefecture. His true given name was Ryūkichi. Dropped out of Waseda U.; apprenticed under the Yosanos, published poems in Myōjō and Subaru magazines, later editing the tanka magazine Tama. Also famous for children's songs like the "Karatachi flowers" and "Red Bird, Wee Bird". Poetry collections include "Jashūmon[Heresy]", "Omoide[Memories]".

詩集「思ひ出」より / from Memories

曼珠沙華

GONSHAN. GONSHAN. 何処どこへゆく。
赤い御墓おはか曼珠沙華  〔ひがんばな 1

曼珠沙華、
けふも手折たおりに来たわいな。

GONSHAN. GONSHAN. 何本なんぼんか。
地には七本、血のやうに、
血のやうに、
ちやうど、あの児の年のかず

GONSHAN. GONSHAN. 気をつけな。
ひとつ摘んでも、は真昼、
日は真昼、
ひとつあとからまたひらく。

GONSHAN. GONSHAN. 何故なし泣くろ。
何時いつまで取っても、曼珠沙華、
曼珠沙華、
こはや赤しや、まだ七つ。


注釈:

1 Gonshan のローマ字つづりは、「権さん」の訛りだろう。 長崎弁では「さん」付けが「しゃん」訛りになるし、白秋は福岡の出身である。
2 「曼珠沙華」は「まんじゅしゃげ」とも読み、〔梵語〕mañjūşaka にあたる。 仏教では天上に咲くという花。また、ヒガンバナの別称である。 ヒガンバナは、地中に埋まっている鱗茎(球根)から、初秋に(葉のない)花茎をのばし、 ユリ・カンゾウのような赤い花を頂につける。ちょうど彼岸の ころ、墓の近くなどに鮮血のように赤い咲かせるので、死者の魂の苦悩の嘆きのようにも 思われる。だから父親はそれを一生懸命に摘んでそれを癒そうとつとめているのである。

The Higan - Flowers

Gon-shan, Gon-shan1. Where do yo go?
After the crimson higan-flowers2
at the burial yard,
I've come for them's a-picking again today.

Gon-shan, Gon-shan. How many stems?
Out of ground, seven stems like the blood,
Like the blood,
Exactly the age my girl3 would've been.

Gon-shan, Gon-shan. Careful now!
You might pick one, but the day's high noon,
The day's high noon,
Another blooms again in the place of old.

Gon-shan, Gon-shan, why the tears?
However long I go on picking, the higan-flower,
The higan-flower,
I'm afeard of it, the redness of it. She was only seven.


Notes:

1 "Gon-shan" is represented in Roman alphabet as "Gonshan. Gonshan." in the original poem. This should probably be construed as "Gon-san" or Mr. Gon, spoken in the local dialect close to Nagasaki. The poet comes from a neighboring prefecture.
2 higanbana (Latin name lycoris radiata. The common name of "lycoris" is more unambiguous, though Kenkyusha's dictionary calls it "cluster-amaryllis") This is an odd bulb-plant which lies underground until late summer when it grows out leafless stalks and unfolds its red cluster of lily-like flowers. It is so-called because it blooms in early fall coinciding with the "higan" a season to go visit the familiar grave. Because of the oddity of the leafless blood-red flowers rising from the ground, the unusual season when it blooms, and the fact that they often bloom near graveyards has given it an association, in which the flower is viewed as the manifestation of the throes of anguish from the spirits of the buried dead. So in this case, the father assiduously picks the flowers perhaps hoping this would ease the child's suffering.
Here, in representing the word "higanbana", the poet has used an alternate set of characters which would normally be read as "manjushage". "Manjushage" derives from the Sanskrit mañjūşaka and in Buddhism it is a fabled flower in paradise; the word is also another nickname for the "higanbana"(lycoris).
3 The poem only says "child" and does not specify boy or girl, but in the last line, I was more or less compelled to commit to a he or she.


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