Wednesday, March 21, 2007

holding the moon

been thinking a lot today, about the nature of holidays and the holidays of nature. in japan, the blossoming of the cherry trees calls for cherry-viewing parties at the highest levels.

in persia, the first day of the spring
is new year's day.

yes, we have nature-based holidays. our spring holidays are easter and passover. these are really celebrating the equinox as much as chanukah and christmas
celebrate the solstice.

but for the japanese, it's much more conscious. something about us being part of nature, nature being part of us, has not been lost.

van gogh may have been right, writing his brother about the regard with which the japanese hold a single blade of grass. the blossoming of the trees is cause for poetry.
this is ono no komachi writing a poem.
could this sad poem be it?

How invisibly

it changes color
in this world,
the flower

of the human heart.

(Chikanobu Toyohara, Shunzan Katsukawa,
Nobukazu Watanabe, Arthur Wesley Dow,
Gesso Yoshimoto, poem from Ink Dark Moon, tr. Hirshfield/Aratani.)

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