Saturday 10 April 2010

Hanami sakura

Spring which starts in March and stays till May is a very busy period in Japan. It is the season when the most beautiful festival of Hanami is celebrated. The Sakura trees (or the cherry blossoms) all over Japan come into bloom for between seven to ten days. People hold outdoor parties to view the cherry blossoms.

Emperor Sage of the Heian period held flower-viewing parties with sake and feasted underneath the blossoming boughs of sakura trees in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. Poems were written praising the delicate flowers, which were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous, beautiful, fleeting, ephemeral.

Can one celebrate Hanami even when tragedy occurs? Can one bear the joy of new beginnings all around when one has lost or is grieving?

I ask this because the beloved Japanese family who housed and adopted my younger brother when he was teaching in Japan, have suffered a tragedy. Their younger daughter Yuki, my brother's friend, has died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.

This is my Hanami sakura poem for her, and for my brother.

Yuki, the cherry tree
is quietly blooming now
but the wind is so impatient
some petals are floating down.

my mother and I
stood in the doorway
watching the willow
Green leaves are perfect in spring.

the scent of rain is here
I am drinking hot tea
sweet with memories
and listening to birds sing.

Yuki, the cherry tree
is empty now
the wind stole all the petals
but the earth is full
with warm white snow
and I know
you will return soon.
The cherry tree
will bloom again
and I know
you will return soon.
Shaista, copyright 2010
images from greg takanama hanami & cherry blossoms anime blog


Cloudia said...

you have written a worthy poem to honor Yuki and to illuminate the rest of us.

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Dan Gurney said...

How very sad! I am so sorry. How old? I would think quite quite young. My thoughts are with you and Yuki's family.

Delwyn said...

Hello Shaista

I have come via the lovely Dan, and have found a sensitive soul and a most touching poem.

I too have an interest in Japan and the orient. One of my daughters lives in Tokyo and I have visited and walked in Japan a number of times.
Another daughter was born in Seoul so I feel many strings to the East.

Thank you for your poem and beautiful blog

Happy days

Eila said...

What sad news. Your poem is beautiful x

A said...

So sorry.
My heart goes out to you and Yuki's family.

Sam Liu said...

Shaista, that has to be one of the most beautiful poems you've ever written. Every line sang to me with softness,I'm very sorry to hear about this terrible tragedy.

mermaid gallery said...

Everybody will feel comforted by your very sensitive poem. Sadness is ....

Aayushi Mehta said...

What a beautiful poem, so full of love for someone dear, and of the firm hope that there will be another meeting....

Loved reading this, touched my heart.

ichinen said...

Thank you for your poem. "the cherry tree is empty now" is touching phrase.
I found a waka poem like this.

空蝉の 世にも似たるか 花桜 咲くと見し間に かつ散りにけり (よみ人知らず)
"Cherry blossoms resemble fugacious life. No sooner did they bloom than they have fallen", author unknown

Yin said...

Have thought of you every time I've walked past a cherry tree this last fortnight or so. So sorry to hear this.

AutoDT said...

A beautiful tribute...

Thank you for sharing.


ceecee said...

My sympathies for the loss of Yuki. Your poem was as gentle as the cherry blossoms.

It was so sweet of you to recall the 'award', Shaista. I knew you were very ill then and I was never sure that you knew of it. The giving made me happy enough once, but now I get to feel happy again.


Unknown said...

Your lovely poem is very touching. very kind and thoughtful.

Lisa said...

Life goes on for those left behind. Soon or late, life goes on.

We celebrate your poem Shaista.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

a wonderful poem dear girl.

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