The Japanese people respect and take pride in literature and poetry. Japanese royalty wrote poetic descriptions of the people and places they visited. This is a poem by Prince Aki, who lived in 718 AD under Empress Gensho. According to history, Prince Aki married a woman against court regulations and was punished. The Lady was sent back to her native province.
On an imperial visit to the province of Ise.
Would that they were flowers,
The white surges far upon the sea of Ise-
I would wrap and bring them home
As a souvenir for my beloved wife.
Oh, my dear love far away!
Because you are not here,
And the way is distant,
Restless is my heart with longing;
My grieving heart knows no respite.
Oh, were I the could that sails the sky!
Oh, were I a high-flying bird!
To-marrow I would go and speak to you.
Then you, my love, untroubled for my sake,
And for your sake I myself untroubled,
We would live together even now
A happy pair as ever.
No longer do I sleep
With your dainty arm for a pillow.
Meantime a year has passed away-
To think of it, alas!-
Without my seeing you.
A poem from:
The Manyoshu: One Thousand Poems pg 88
Translated by Nippon Gakujutsu Shenkokai