Otomo no Yakamochi

Sorrow of the Frontier Guards

My great lord
Gave a dread command:
So I parted from my wife,
Though filled with sadness;
And with a strong man's
Heart steeled myself -
That's what I showed -
And when I left my gate,
O'er flowing with love,
My mother stroked my hair;
And, as young grass,
My wife held me close;
"For you to be in peace,
Will I pray,
And safely,
Quickly return to me," she said,
Her sleeves
Wiping away her tears;
Swallowing sobs
As she spoke;
So, like a flock of birds,
I could not leave
And did delay -
Always looking back -
Oh, how far
Behind have I left my land;
Oh, how high
The mountains I have passed;
Scattered with reeds
To Naniwa I come, where
On the evening tide
Floats my ship;
Where in the morning calm
We will turn out the prow and row;
Waiting quietly,
While I am here,
The spring haze
Around the islands rises and
The calls of the cranes
Sound sadly;
When my distant
Home I recall,
My bow case
Rustling on my back,
How I do grieve

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