The poignant autumn imagery of this screen is associated with one of Japan's most illustrious poets, the courtier Ariwara no Narihira (825-880). His work figures prominently in the Heian-period Tales of Ise, a loose anthology of waka poems with short prose prefaces. One poem reads:
Kamiyo mo kikazu
Mizu kukuru to wa
Even in the age
Of the mighty gods--
These deep crimson splashes
Dyed in Tatsuta's water.
Another poem in the anthology by Otomo Kuronushi likens the plangent wails of flying geese to a breaking heart:
Koishiki toki wa
Nakite wataru to
Hito shirurame ya
Do you, know, I wonder,
That when my love grows unendurable
I pace near your house, crying aloud
Like the first wild goose of autumn
Winging its way across the sky.
The translations of both poems appear in Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise), trans. Helen Craig McCullough (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968), pp. 141 and 161.