Home > Poetry > “Following the roads”
Translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth
Published: Sat Oct 15 1977
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
“Following the roads”

Translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth

Following the roads
Of dream to you, my feet
Never rest. But one glimpse of you
In reality would be
Worth all these many nights of love.

See what's inside AGNI 56

Ono no Komachi (834–880) is the legendary beauty of Japan, comparable to the Chinese Yang Kuei-fei. She was the daughter of Yoshisada, Lord of Dewa. She is supposed to have died old, ugly and a beggar, but this is a legend, perpetuated by two of the finest Noh plays. She is certainly one of Japan’s “six greatest poets.” Her poems, with their complex meanings, are perfect examples of Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity. Komachi’s work is featured in Jane Hirshfield’s The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Onono Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan. (updated 6/2010)

Kenneth Rexroth continues. (1977)


AGNI has published the following translations:

Evening darkens until by Anonymous
Following the roads by Ono no Komachi


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