Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | May 11, 2009

POEM OF THE DAY: A Maiden’s Lament

by Lady Sakanoue (8th century).

A Maiden’s Lament

Full oft he swore, with accents true and tender’
“Though years roll by, my love shall ne’er wax old!”
And so to him my heart I did surrender,
Clear as a mirror of pure burnish’d gold;

And from that day, unlike the seaweed bending                    5
To ev’ry wave raised by the autumn gust,
Firm stood my heart, on him alone depending,
As the bold seaman in his ship doth trust.

Is it some cruel god that hath bereft me?
Or hath some mortal stol’n away his heart?                         10
No word, no letter, since the day he left me,
No more he cometh, ne’er again to part!

In vain I weep, in helpless, hopeless sorrow,
From earliest morn to the close of day;
In vain, till radiant dawn brings back the morrow,                15
I sigh the weary, weary nights away.

No need to tell how young I am and slender, —
A little maid that in thy palm could lie:
Still for some message comforting and tender
I pace the room in sad expectancy.                                    20

(Transl. by Basil Hall Chamberlain)


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