Fujiwara no Yoshitsune’s “Must I sleep alone?” (Hyakunin Isshu #91)

Translation
By Prime Minister and Regent Go-Kyogoku,
Fujiwara no Yoshitsune (1169-1206)
Cricket chirping
Frosty night
A mat of cold and white—
It holds a folded robe
But must I sleep alone?
Original Japanese
Pronunciation
後京極摂政太政大臣
Go Kyogoku no Sessho Dajodaijin
きりぎりす
Kirigirisu
鳴くや霜夜の
Naku ya shimo yo no
さむしろに
Samushiro ni
衣かたしき
Koromo katashiki
ひとりかも寝む
Hitori kamo nen
Literal Notes
Grasshopper/cricket   
Cry/sing/sound/chirp frost-night ’s
[samu=cold; mushi=bug; mushiro= straw-mat/instead; shiro=white] on
Clothes/garment/robe/coating [direction style = folding]
Alone [? how / might] sleep
The third line could read many different ways, with “samu” being cold and “mushiro” being “straw mat” as the two main readings. However, with the additional meanings of “bug” (referring to the cricket) and “white,” it allows the poem to be read in two ways. The first way, the poet is sleeping alone on his straw mat listening to a cricket chirp in the frosty night. The second way refers to a lone cricket chirping on bed coated in white (i.e., snow).

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