☆Yamanoue-no Okura’s poem:
(筑前国守 山上憶良 巻5-797）
Oh, what a regret!
If I had known this outcome,
This sorrowful end,
I’d have shown you all around,
All corners of this fine land…
Another genre of Man-Yoh-Shuh tankas is “Banka” (Elegies), lamenting deaths and
tragedy of family members, friends or court officials, and this poem here is one of them.
In those days, it often happens that a poet creates Elegies on behalf of his superior so
that the superior may announce (his) sense of lament truthfully and yet more
dramatically through the work of a professional poet. Okura created this poem
(Vol.5-797), and the next number, Vol.5-798, for the sake of his superior in Kyushu, i.e.
Ootomo-no-Tabito, then-Commander of Dazaifu Government Office, a strategically
important office, though it’s an outpost away from Capital Yamato (Nara).
Here, Okura created an elegy and presented it to Tabito, where a man (Tabito) mourns over the death of his wife whom he took along for a long journey to the
new post in spite of an old age (both husband and wife), and rues his decision to do
that, and wishes he had not taken her along and left her back home in peace, and
he himself remaining (or returning) back home would have taken her around
different places in that beautiful Capital Nara for the pleasure of themselves.