Today I sing

The cover of the first edition of Wakayama Bokusui's first work "The Voice of the Sea"
The cover of the first edition of Wakayama Bokusui’s first work “The Voice of the Sea”

われ歌を
うたへり今日も
故わかぬ
かなしみどもに
うち追はれつつ

われうたを
うたりきょうも
ゆえわかぬ
かなしみどもに
うちおわれつつ

I sing
today again. Sorrows,
the reason unknown.
So many follow me

Wakayama Bokusui, “The Voice of the Sea”, first published July 1908.

Commentary

I am singing a song. Today again I am overcome by so much sadness, so many sorrows. But I am spurred on and in order to escape such sadness I am singing.

Background

Bokusei’s first collection of poems “The Voice of the Sea” (in Japanese “海の声”, “umi no koe”) was first published in 1908. The cover showed a picture by Hirafuku Hyakusui (1877-1933) and whose works can be found at this link. The volume collected works from twenty two years of age and this was the first poem in the volume.

In the “..sorrows, the reason unknown..” this poem gives us a personification of a melancholy that so many of us are familiar with in our adolescence.

Vocabulary notes

  • 駆り立てる・かりたてる・drive on, drive to do.・貧困が彼をその犯罪に駆り立てた。・Poverty drove him to commit the crime.
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