[The Tale of Hyakunin Isshu] No. 32: “The wind blows over the mountains and rivers, and the flow is like autumn leaves.” (Harumichi Retsuju)

No. 32: “The wind blows over the mountains and rivers, and the flow becomes like autumn leaves.” (Harumichi Retsuju)

It has an elegance that seems second-hand, but it is not sarcastic. Perhaps it's because of the name, ``Harumichi no Tsuraki'' is a beautiful name whose destiny is to sing. However, the imperial collection contained only five poems, far from expectations. Still, Teika must have found a skill in this song. Harumichi effortlessly pulls off Fuga's ``personification'' of the wind and ``likening'' of autumn leaves to a fence, but it is not as easy as one might think to summarize this in one poem. This song was perfect as a best practice for the skill of waka poetry, which is as good as that of Chinese poetry. However, if he had chosen a spring song, his name would have stood out even more.

Now, while most spring flowers are composed about their ``falling appearance,'' autumn leaves are composed of in a variety of ways, as in this poem, which is likened to a fence. Kara Nishiki's mitate*1 is well-known, but there are also others such as the red wave standing on a river*2, the red carpet on a mountain road*3, the combination with a deer*4, and Katsura of the Tsuki in Kugata*5. It's a colorful pattern, just like autumn leaves.

*1 “Chihayafuru Jinse Mokikazu Tatsuta River Karako with water” (Narihira Ariwara)
*2 ``At the port where the maple leaves flow and stop, deep red waves and rams rise'' (Sose Hoshi)
*3 ``Stomping further and further and visiting Hamumomijiha, pretending to be hidden and looking at the road'' (Yomito Shirazu)
*4 “Autumn is sad when you hear the deer croaking as they step through the autumn leaves in the mountains.” (Sarumaru Dayu)
*5 “The Katsura of the long moon is also full of autumn, and if you do it, it will be terrier” (Mibu Tadami)

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

List of “Hyakunin Isshu Stories”

Learn the basics of waka poetry and try reciting it!

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