Reading a Letter from Home

Three lonely months and more without news—
now a favorable wind blows me a letter.
“Someone made off with the tree by the western gate.
Strangers have set up camp in that lot in the north garden.”
Ginger wrapped in a paper marked MEDICINE,
a bamboo packet of seaweed “for fasting days.”
Not a word of the hunger and cold my wife and children must be suffering—
she didn't mean it that way, but I worry all the more.
Author of original: 
Sugawara no Michizane
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