Ono no Komachi

The Ink Dark Moon
  • The Ink Dark Moon

  • Here is a collection of sexy, brief, fleeting poems about love, lust and longing. They originate from a time in Japanese history where aristocratic women of the Heian court were free to marry and conduct love affairs according to their desires. Education and refinement were so highly valued that the courtly manner of expressing oneself, whether to give condolences for a death, to send back a forgotten fan, or to heighten the anticipation of a lover's visit, was with a poem of just five lines. A convention of secrecy surrounding love affairs fills these verses with palpable emotion.

    These vivid and erotic poems express love in all its forms, and do so with amazing economy of words, unforgettable imagery and breath-taking modernity.

    'They are full of dreams, of autumns, of lovers known or not yet met, of desire, wonderment, loneliness' Irish Times

    Editor Jane Hirschfield and translator Mariko Aratani have created an edition that bring the story of the poems to life with a full-length introduction and notes on the translation.

Ono no Komachi was a legendary figure from the time of her death. Little is known about her life but historians believe Komachi served the Heian court in the middle of the 9th century. She most likely had at least one child. The legend goes that she was not only the outstanding poet of her time but the most beautiful, though the story told in No plays is that she ended her days in poverty and obscurity.

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