On Vacation: A Poem to Record My Thoughts

I put in for a five-day leave,
a little vacation from early duty at the office.
And during my leave where do I stay?
At my home in the Sempu Ward.
Gates bolted, no one comes to call;
the bridge broken, no horses pass by.
Up early, I call the boy
to prop up the last of the chrysanthemums.
As the sun climbs higher, I urge the old groom
to sweep and tidy the sand in the garden.
At twilight I take a turn by the eastern fence,
try to wash and dust it, but the bamboo topples over.
When evening comes, I begin thinking of my books,
in rue-scented silk covers, five cartloads.
Spotting the volumes I need, I take them down,
making notes to add on items overlooked.
The cold sound of fallen leaves by the stairs;
in dawn breath, flowers of frost on the flagstones:
at cockcrow I lie down, arm for a pillow,
quietly thinking, grieving for friends far away.
My girls are in the inner rooms helping their mother;
the little boy tags around after Grandpa;
but I have duties that cannot be shirked,
I must leave and set out on the long road to the palace.
One sigh brings a sinking feeling in my stomach,
a second sigh and tears begin to flow.
The east already light and still I haven't slept;
glumly I sip a cup of tea.
Heaven is indifferent to my longings for leisure;
even at home I'm busy all the time.
Karma piled up from long ages past
keeps us coming and going in these bitter lives.
Author of original: 
Sugawara no Michizane
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