For this writing box, the renowned lacquer artist Yo_yu_sai was inspired by a poem that occurs in the 9th century Tales of Ise, attributed to the courtier Ariwara Narihira (depicted on the cover of the box). When the protagonist of the story (possibly Narihira himself) comes upon a marsh of blossoming irises, he composes a poem beginning each line with a syllable from the Japanese word for iris (kakitsubata
Karogoromo I have a beloved wife
Kitsutsu narenishi Familiar as the skirt
Tsuma shi areba Of a well-worn robe
Harubaru kinuru And so, this distant journeying
Tabi o shi zo omou. Fills my heart with grief.