Happy Tanabata! Here’s a poem by Noguchi Ujō 野口雨情 in honor of the occasion. According to Aozora Bunko, this was first published in the July 1933 edition of Shōgaku Ninensei (“Elementary school second-grader”) magazine.
Nanoka ni wa
And in quick and inelegant English translation:
Every year in the seventh month
On the seventh day
The star festival
When it has arrived
Write a poem
The tanzaku hung,
Raise the bamboo
Ujō is often praised for the mysterious and somewhat melancholy depth of his writing for children, but as this example shows he was not above straight-ahead soundplay.
“Raise [literally “stand up”] the bamboo”: Back in the Edo period, people really took this seriously. A picture like this (Hiroshige, 1857) shows clearly that the tanzaku-laden bamboo was raised well above the roofs. Now even the de facto official Tanabata song, “Tanabata-sama,” has the tanzaku swaying nokiba ni, “eaves-LOC,” which is at best “by the eaves” and more naturally “under (i.e. hanging from) the eaves.”
Beorht wæron burgræced burnsele monige
heah horngestreon heresweg micel
meodoheall monig mondreama full
oþþæt þæt onwende wyrd seo swiþe