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The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan
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The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  817 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
These translated poems were written by two ladies of the Heian court of Japan between the ninth and eleventh centuries A.D. The poems speak intimately of their authors' sexual longing, fulfillment and disillusionment.
Paperback, 212 pages
Published October 3rd 1990 by Vintage (first published March 1st 1988)
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Lily Lundy The poems are very sensual, but not explicitly sexual. Violence is not really present.

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Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Japanese poetry is said to be originated in human heart and mind and grows in to the myriad leaves of words. The collection of poems The Ink Dark Moon is from the Heian era of Japanese literature, the era is considered as Golden Age in the history of Japanese literature. The language in that era was very inflected language- grammatical constructions are often contained within the words themselves, usually in their endings as in Latin, English on the other hand is partially inflected language s ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Moon and the solitude of lovers, Izumi Shikibu, Ono no komachi
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و دوم نوامبر سال 2004 میلادی
عنوان: ماه و تنهایی عاشقان - (یکصد و سی و هشت) تنکای عاشقانه معروف؛ نویسنده: ایزومی شی کی بو؛ اونو نو کوماچی؛ برگردان: عباس صفاری؛ تهران، آهنگ دیگر، 1382؛ موضوع: شعر شاعران تانکای ژاپنی؛ قرن 20 م
در ادبیات کهن و غنایی ژاپن دو سبک سرایش شعر، تکامل ویژه ای یافتند: «هایکو» و «تنکا». در سبک «هایکو» شاعر مجاز به استفاده از 17 سیلاب برای سرایش شعر است. بسیار کوتاه و اثرگذار، هایکو شعری بسی
Akemi G.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Why would an English-speaking person want to read Japanese poems translated into English? Is it enjoyable?
I was curious about this and found this book at my local library. It is an anthology of Japanese style poems (waka/tanka) by two Heian period (794 - 1185 or 1192) female poets, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. I know the original poems are 5 stars; I'm taking 1 star off because I think the presentation can be improved.

Waka follows a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5, 7-7. (Please see the example b
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful amuse-bouche poems, these are lovely little bites of awesomeness, and I enjoyed reading about both the Heian court, of which I'd never heard, as well as the intricacies and issues of translating ancient Japanese poems. And what the hell, I'll thrown in a couple of my many favorites:

In this world
love has no color--
yet how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.


When the water-freezing
winter arrives,
the floating reeds look rooted,
as if stillness
were their own desire.
Mohammad Ali

این کتاب مجموعه ای است دوزبانه - فارسی و انگلیسی - از 138 سروده - در قالب تانکا - از دو شاعر زن عصر هیان ( 794 تا 1185 م. ) در ژاپن: ایزومی شی کی بو، متولد 974 م. - 97 شعر - و اونو نو کوماچی، متولد 834 م. - 41 شعر

مجموعه بهتر از متوسط و حتی نزدیک خوب است اما اشعار معمولی کم ندارد. شاهکار کمتر درش هست

ترجمه از حیث ادبی بودن در کل مناسبه اما از حیث مطابقت گاهی یه دستی باید توش بره

حاشیه: هیچ جای کتاب اشاره ای به مشخصات اصل ترجمه ی انگلیسی نشده، شاید این کتاب باشه

اشعاری که بیشتر پسندیدم
از شی کی بو - 4
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese, poetry
Oh, this was just lovely. Passionate but also serene.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Heian period of literature, one of the rare periods in history where women had the opportunity, education, and respect (mostly) to dominate the literary field.

This one is a special pairing of two poets, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. Although I enjoyed both, I would give Ono a 4 star rating and Izumi 5 stars. Ono writes mainly on nature and brief relationships and imparts a sense that she was able
S.B. Wright
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If Haiku are observational and sparse, understated in their emotion, detached from the poet’s ego – then I find that Tanka are almost their opposite.

With Tanka the poet expresses their emotion, asks questions directly of the reader(or themselves) and layers emotional imagery that can seem to explode off the page (particularly if you have only been reading Haiku). Indeed at times while The Ink Dark Moon, I found these poems from 8th-10th Century Japan more akin to the overtly emotional work of t
Silvia Cachia
The full title is  The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani.

These two women wrote in the Heian era, which lasted from 794 to 1185. Ono No Komachi (834 - ?), and Izumi  Shikibu (974? - 1034?) Their lives, and life in Japan, are nothing to what we are used to or had at the time. From the introduction:
Komachi and Shikibu stand out as two of the greatest poets in an age of greatness not si
Connie Cann
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
When my desire
grows too fierce
I wear my bed clothes
inside out,
dark as the night's rough husk.

-Ono no Komachi

The Ink Dark Moon will become one of those poetry collections that I am constantly reading. I expected the poetry of these two women of the Heian court, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, to offer a glimpse into imperial Japan - but the collection is more of a glimpse into what it's like to be a lover.

In this world
love has no color-
yet how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.

-Izumi Shikibu
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, japanese
It took me a while to get beneath the surface of these poems, perseverance being rewarded. Of the two poets, I preferred Shikibu to Komachi; she seems to touch in a broader range of topics, though this could be due to fewer of her poems having survived, the smaller collection of her works in this volume, the editor's selection, or a combination of the three.

In addition to, and often at the same time as, writing about love, Shikibu talks of the transient and impermanent nature of existence; berea
Daniel Simmons
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Melancholy and gorgeous. The perfect accompaniment for a moonlit night under a cherry tree in full bloom.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
From Ono no Komachi:

I thought to pick
the flower of forgetting
for myself,
but I found it
already growing in his heart.


How invisibly
it changes color
in this world,
the flower
of the human heart.

From Izumi Shikibu:

Should I leave this burning house
of ceaseless thought
and taste the pure rain's
single truth
falling upon my skin?


and the path you took
coming and going from me
is also gone,
woven closed by spiderwebs and sorrow.
"Poetry in translation is like taking a shower with a raincoat on."
Katrina Anderson
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-to-own
Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani’s translations of Heian Court love poetry by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu may not be the most accurate translation; but what they lack in accuracy, they make up in their conveyance of passion that is familiar to Western audiences. The preface gives a great introduction to Heian Court practices concerning love, women, and poetry. It is necessary to read if you want to have a deeper understanding of the poems and the poets’ life. The poems themselves are very ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I was in Boston the last few days, I visited the BMFA exhibit or Hokusai and amongst the mouse pads, mugs (of which I bought two - that I now realize are Sake glasses - hence the missing handles), there were a number of books. This was one. I decided to download it to my kindle while I waited a couple hours at the airport and I proceeded to devour it over the course of my 4 hour flight home. It's like Sappho had some sisters in 8th century Japan...about 1400 years after her own time.
Saman Kashi
آرزو دارم ببینم او را
ببیند او مرا
کاش آینهای بود او
که هر بامداد
در آن بنگرم


اشتیاق سرکش دیدارت
مهار ناشدنی است
دستکم کسی سرزنشم نمیکند
چون شبانه به دیدارت میشتابم
در کوچهی خواب
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This pine tree by the rock
Must have its memories too:
After a thousand years,
See how its branches
Lean towards the ground.

These were written one thousand years ago, and I simply loved them. The only complaint is that they did not also have the Japanese characters, for I love them also. Ostensibly they are short poems that the women wrote to flirt with their gentleman, but they are so much more. The intro defines poetry as “the natural upwelling of language in a awakened and interested heart- an
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A lovely introduction into the world of Heian Era poetry. I preferred Izumi Shikibu’s poems to those of the legendary Ono no Komachi, perhaps because there were many more of hers in the collection which meant a wider variety of sentiments were expressed through them. At once passionate, playful and enamoured, Izumi nonetheless falls into Buddhist contemplations and periods of deep mourning for her lost lover and her daughter. Because of this breadth of feelings expressed, she felt like a more co ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If someone told me that poetry from 9th and 10th century Japan would be some of the most sensual and palpable poetry I would read, I wouldn't have believed them. The poems, written by two courtiers from the Heian Period in Japan, range from passionate to coy, some filled with yearning and some with subtle innuendo. There are also poems reflective of times past and impending death. This is a varied and outstanding collection that should be added to any poetry lover's library. Easily 5 stars.
May 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: japan, poetry, translated, own
Translator's Acknowledgments

--The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan

On Japanese Poetry and the Process of Translation
Notes to the Poems
Selected Bibliography & Further Reading
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mcpl-book, poetry

The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan translated by Jane Hirsh field with Mariko Aratani. These poems were written by two ladies of the Heian Court between the 9th and 11th Centuries in Japan. These women were central figures in the only literary Golden Age where women writers dominated the field. Shikibu (974?-1034?) wrote during the court culture's greatest period. She was a woman interested in both religious consciousness and
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This isn't really the kind of book that you sit down and read cover to cover. I once saw someone describe trying to read straight through a collection of haiku as being like "being repeatedly pecked by doves," and that's kind of an apt description. You're much better off dipping in and reading just a few poems at a time.

The poems in this book run the gamut emotionally: some are passionate, some are sad, some are funny. Considering how old the poems are and how different the lives of the women w
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it

I really am at quite a loss on how to review or respond to an anthology of poetry. I have promised myself I will leave more of a trail of my reading life so here goes nothing. First of all, how can you turn down a book with the title of Ink Dark Moon? Girl, I can't!

All of the poems are quite short and it made for some enjoyable before bed reading. There are some really incredible poems and some really incredible lines in this little tome. Mainly about secret love and yearnings.

Gabriel Clarke
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Tanka by Heian woman of noble rank in history’s most refined, hyper-aesthetic culture. The poems are stark, resonant and at times strangely luxuriant. As close to immersion in a wholly alien culture as one can get this side of Alpha Centauri or Rigel.
Oct 06, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poem
چه کسی در این دنیا
سزاوار زندگی نیست
آن کس که فراموش می کند
یا آن که
فراموش می شود ؟


چون باران بهاری در مرداب
اشکهای من آرام
بر آستینم فرو می چکند
و او نمی شنود.


در پایان روز پرندگان
هرکدام به سویی
بال می گشایند.
برای پیوستن به تو
کدام یک را دنبال کنم؟
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skimmed
I have been reading this one page at a time, off and on, for almost 18 months. For me, haiku is like peppermints - one at a time, please.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
هایکوهایی که خوندم به نظرم خیلی از این مجموعه تنکاها جذابتر می اومدن
احساس میکنم تنکاها به خاطر سختی سرودن هایکوها به وجود اومدن...
اینطور نیست؟
Oct 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Love these poems!

Lyrical, beautiful, sensuous. Very speaking to the female heart and soul.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, poetry, favorites
Ono No Komachi

Though I go to him constantly
on the paths of dream,
never resting my feet,
in the real world
it doesn’t equal a single glance.


My longing for you—
too strong to keep within bounds.
At least no one can blame me
when I go to you at night
along the road of dreams.


When my desire
grows too fierce
I wear my bed clothes
inside out,
dark as the night’s rough husk.


Did he appear
because I fell asleep
thinking of him?
If only I’d known I was dreaming,
I’d never have wa
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Poetry(or simply put, expression of self) doesn't require tough arrangements of sentences or use of ceremonious vocabulary . It can be well enjoyed through simply put words. Like that of a new leaf falling on on a silent pond causing ripples down our spines; fresh and sensual. A sensation peircing through the heart, touching the very soul. This is why I find myself lovingly lost in the splendor of Haiku. Heian period is well known for giving us many classic literary works such as The Tale of Ge ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect author and translator information 5 20 Nov 13, 2013 05:11AM  
  • 100 Poems from the Japanese
  • The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan
  • As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan
  • One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan
  • Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death
  • Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hô Xuân Huong
  • Basho: The Complete Haiku
  • Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry
  • The Selected Poems
  • Tangled Hair: Selected Tanka from Midaregami
  • Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku
  • Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World
  • The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku
  • Anthology of Japanese Literature: From the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century
  • The Confessions of Lady Nijō
  • One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryōkan
Ono no Komachi (小野 小町?, c. 825 – c. 900) was a Japanese waka poet, one of the Rokkasen — the six best waka poets of the early Heian period. She was renowned for her unusual beauty, and Komachi is today a synonym for feminine beauty in Japan.[1] She also counts among the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals.
More about Ono no Komachi
“Even when a river of tears
courses through
this body,
the flame of love
cannot be quenched.”
“Even if I now saw you
only once,
I would long for you
through worlds,
More quotes…