The Master-Singers of Japan, by Clara A. Walsh, , at sacred-texts.com
The wild flowers fade, the maple-leaves,
Touched by frost-fingers, float to earth;
But on the bosom of the sea,
The flowers to which her waves give birth
Fade not, like blossoms of the land,
Nor feel the chill of Autumn's hand.
On a cold, snowy morning,
Somebody's child picking up,
With stiff, chilled fingers,
Empty tins in the street.
Cold as the wind of early Spring,
Chilling the buds that still lie sheathed p. 88
In their brown armour, with its sting
And the bare branches withering—
So seems the human heart to me!
Cold as the March wind's bitterness;
I am alone, none comes to see
Or cheer me in these days of stress.
When the Spring comes, in all green things that grow
New pulse of Life beats warmly, all aglow,
Long are the golden days.
Fragrant and moist the gentle zephyrs blow
Through the warm haze.
Why should the flowers alone make haste to go,
Swift to depart from us, who love them so?
In summer-time awhile the breeze will bring
Over the fence a drift of petals fair,
From the next garden's cherry blossoming;
I would that rather the strong wind would bear
The tree itself in fragrant beauty there
Into my garden
I know all blooms must wither at the last—
Fair is their life, but limited and brief;
Yet when I see their fragile beauty past,
Filled is my heart with an unreasoning grief,
Through the unchanging pageant of the years
The passing of the Spring is sad to tears!
By Motoyoshi no Mikō
Fair and unchanged in hue the flowers appear,
As in last Springtime, exquisite to see,
But one with whom I saw them bloom last year
Hath changed to me!
The croaking frogs that find their lodging here,
Would seem to feel the loneliness of night
As much as I, so plaintive is their cry
Through the long hours until the morning light.
The stranger viewing from afar
Yoshino's far-famed cherry-trees,
Veiling each mountain crag and scar,
A soft white cloud is all he sees!
By Sugawara Adaijin
O cherry-blossom loved so well,
If you do not forget your lord,
Absent from you this April-time,
Send me your fragrant message, stored
In the safe keeping of the breeze,
Blowing towards me! Flowers adored,
I think of you!
I hear the cuckoo calling,
Calling, while the dawn's cold dews are falling,
A lonely lullaby.
Yet when my eyes would seek her,
Nought can my gaze descry
But grey mists fainter growing,
But white moon ghostly showing
Pale in the morning sky!
None but the waning moon of morn
Heard the Hototogisu's cry
In anguish from her heart's-blood torn
Thrill upwards to the paling sky!
The Autumn Plain
Is robed in rich brocade,
With flowered pattern
Whence come those dyes
Of variegated hue?
Since crystal clear
And colourless the dew?