Abe no Nakamaro’s “The sky’s meadow above”

Abe no Nakamaro (701-770) is said to have written this poem in China at his farewell party before he was to return to Japan. It describes him looking at the vast sky above, seeing the moon, and being reminded of his time in Japan when he visited the Kasuga Shrine to pray for a safe trip to China and saw the same moon. The Kasuga Shrine in classical Japanese literature had the connotation of departure since that is where people went to pray for a safe trip.
Sadly, he was never able to return to Japan; his ship was wrecked. This was the second time he had tried to return to Japan and the second time his ship was wrecked, so he gave up after that and spent the rest of his life in China.

My Translation
By Abe no Nakamaro
The sky’s meadow above,
I look far into the distance
And it becomes the Kasuga Shrine
On Mount Mikasa
With the coming moon!
Original Japanese
安倍仲麿
天の原
ふりさけ見れば
春日なる
三笠の山に
出でし月かも
Pronunciation
Abe no Nakamaro
Ama no hara
Furisake mireba
Kasuga naru
Mikasa no yama ni
Ideshi tsuki kamo
Literal
Abe no Nakamaro
Heaven’s meadow
Far off when see
Kasuga becomes [Kasuga is a shrine; the characters mean spring day]
Mikasa’s mountain at
Coming moon

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