Wednesday, February 21, 2007



I am at a loss
To say to whom if not to you
I might show plum blossoms;
For such beauty and such fragrance
Only the best judge is a judge at all.
-Ki no Tomonori
With plum blossom scent,
this sudden sun emerges
along a mountain trail

Searching storehouse eaves,
rapt in plum blossom smells,
the mosquito hums
-Matsuo Basho

Pure white plum blossoms
slowly begin to turn
the color of dawn
-Taniguchi Buson

*In the midst of this world
we stroll along the roof of hell
gawking at flowers

A flowering plum
and a nightingale's love song
he remains alone

The blossoming plum!
Today all the fires of hell
remain empty


*This poem is truly my favorite. The idea of hanami, "gawking at flowers", "in the midst" of the supposedly more pressing concerns of our life is so aptly gorgeous. It reminds me of a line from Kerouac's Dharma Bums when the main character Ray, having made it to the top of a mountain that he had been afraid to climb claims: "It's impossible to fall off mountains". They share the same spirit of living despite (or even because) of the absurdity of life and our frail expectations and attachments. Enjoy the change of season. And for you Kiwi/Aussie readers:
Autumn approaches
and the heart begins to dream
of four-tatami rooms

1 comment:

momo said...

Hanami season might be early this year since it is getting really warm already. I will send you some pictures of Kotiyama sakura when we go hanami so that you can enjoy hanami while you are still in the states. Although you can not smell them...