The Spring Night

Monday, 18 February 2013

Peonies in black and white

in the world
is usual today.
This is
the first morning.


Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.


Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.


Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I’d have no regret.


I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.

This poem is by Izumi Shikibu, a Japanese poet born around the year 974, who lived and wrote during the Heian period. You can find it in the collection, The Ink Dark Moon. As a teenager, I had this poem pinned above my bed, right next to my Nirvana poster. I don’t know why I thought of this poem today, but I’m glad I did, because it reminded me how beautiful I find it and with what intense obsession (as can only be felt when you’re a teenager) I loved it. Mind you, I did love Nirvana equally.

By the way, I received an email yesterday telling me that I’ve been nominated for this blogging competition. I was quite surprised. So whoever nominated me, I just wanted to say thanks.


Teresa said...

A beautiful poem, Hila. Thanks for sharing!
And congratulations on your blogging nomination. :)

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...


Sally said...

Love this poem - reminds me of the panic I feel over spring's (and autumn's) tenuous stay each year - we only have a precious few weeks of perfect weather per season, so sad.

Also love Nirvana (yes still! :)

Odessa said...

Oh, that is such a beautiful poem Hila! Thank you for sharing it. And yessss...Nirvana. <3

Hila said...

Thanks Teresa :)

And glad you all like the poem!

vegetablej said...

These poems are so _Japanese_. It's easy to see the same themes developed in writers following Izumi Shikibu and even today the Japanese view (cherry) blossom viewing as an experience that is the epitome of the passing moment that must be lived fully now. It is all the more beautiful for being transient, traditionally, but I still can't help wanting to hang on to it a bit longer-- ergo art and poetry, I suppose. Thank heaven for their ability to invoke those moments.

Thank you for posting up these poems. You must have had a wonderful education if you knew of them as an adolescent.

Debie Grace said...

Enjoyed reading this poem! I love that you love Nirvana as well :D

Hila said...

vegetablej: I had the best English teacher in high school, so yes, I had a pretty good eduction! Although I think I discovered this poem in a magazine, of all places.

Debie Grace: Who didn't love Nirvana though?