Image: 26.5 x 17.8 cm (10 7/16 x 7 inches)
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[text and poems]
zoge ni no too
nadeshiko no hana
The poem is a play on the words nadeshiko, the pinks flower, and the verb nade, to rub. Cormorants were fitted with a whale-bone ring at the base of the neck which was pulled tight in order to keep the bird from swallowing the saleable ayu fish they would catch in their bills. The poem conveys the sense that swallowing a bone requires rubbing the neck to dislodge it just as the bird's ring is rubbed (nade) and the catch dislodged. A basic translation of the poem can read:
When one swallows a bone
without knowing it,
rub it to dislodge it
as if it were a whalebone ring
The final line of the poem "nadeshiko no hana" (pinks flowers) is not included in the above translation. Although the flowers describe the image they do not fit easily with the jist of the difficult poem in English. Kobayashi does not include the poem in the Japanese caption. The season is autumn.
Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.