Kirikiri, Japan and Massachusetts
A famous Japanese
poem dating 889AD
filled with imitative sounds of autumn insects and weaving:
Fune o samu
Kirikiri to soro
kirikiri: a buzzing, creaking sound like those crickets and grasshoppers
(cf. kirigirisu: grasshopper. this word is also applied to Amaterasu herself, as an alternative
name for her associated with the sounds of autumn and weaving.)
Alan L. Miller's translation of this anonymous poem:
Is it the cold wind
Or perhaps the work
Of the weaver woman---
that rapid buzzing sound?
[pp. 40-41, note 39]
These quick grasshopper sounds---
are they the creak and whirr
of a woman weaving
or autumn's wind unwinding?
[Alan L. Miller, "Ame No Miso-Ori
Me (The Heavenly Weaving Maiden): The Cosmic Weaver in Early Shinto
Myth and Ritual," History of Religions 24.1 (August 1984): 27-48.]
- The earth has many keys.
- Where melody is not
- Is the unknown peninsula.
- Beauty is nature's fact.
- But witness for her land,
- And witness for her sea,
- The cricket is her utmost
- Of elegy to me.
poem #1775 (Johnson edition), exact date unknown.
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