Emperor Nintoku – / at Mozuno, hunting pheasant / for his amusement (Michio)
Gist: Fourteen Hailstones fell on Mozuno 百舌鳥野, Sakai, in south Osaka, to view the largest tomb in Japan (her ‘Great Pyramid’, from the air ‘keyhole-shaped’ and now completely overgrown with forest) – that of 4th century emperor, Nintoku 仁徳天皇.
Some of Japan’s earliest tanka were written by his first wife, Empress Iwanohime 磐之媛, and at the poem monument there, Michio read us some of her verse.
The walk around the tumulus is nearly two miles, so after completing the first quarter, we ricocheted into Mozuno restaurant for a kukai instead (topics: ancient history and the moon). Below are some of the haiku composed and shared.
A vase, full / Of early summer trees – / Nintoku’s tomb (Tito)
the triple-moated imperial tumulus – / a balmy breeze / swaying it freely (Mizuho)
Summer wind blowing / Down the huge wooded mound – / A memory of ancient sweat (Toshi)
everlasting love / of the empress’s poems: / around his tumulus / ripples gently spread (Keiko)
over the dark moat a lit dragonfly (Hisashi)
her love poem inscribed / on a giant rock – / summer moon (duro)
Gist: Later, some of the stones rolled on to Mozu Hachimangu shrine, famous for its autumn moon-viewing festival and sacred 800-year-old camphor tree.
On the way back home, many miles away, five of us held an impromptu Yodogawa riverbank moonrise party… before finally melting away into the night.
Moon rising … / many jewels / brightening quietly / in the ancient tomb (Kaoru)
My pillow, your arm
White as the radishes dug up
With wooden spades
By the women of mountainous Yamashiro:
Only if this had not been so
Could you truly say
You know me not.
(Emperor Nintoku to Iwahime in 342)