They were here, are gone.
And the gone, growing in number.
In this forlorn world,
I wonder how long,
Sighing, I will go on.

Ono no Komachi (834?-?), Heian era, near the end of her days

The Gone, Growing in Number
Original Text and Alternative Translation


Aru wa naku
Naki wa kazusou
Yo no naka ni
Aware izure no
Hi made nagekan

Those who once were there
Are not. There are more each day;
Suff'ring in this world
How much longer will it last?
My despair lingers still.


What is, becomes not
Not-being-persons, number increases
Inside the world
Misery, until what day,
Sigh of despair.

Observant readers will have noticed that the hiragana for kazusou appears to read kazusofu. This is due to the pre-WWII Japanese orthography, which read そふ as "sou." This use of ふ where we would now use う (u) was abolished in the post-war simplification of Japanese orthography.

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