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    お花見

    The proprietor of this site, clearly a lady of rare discernment, pronounced my blog “beautiful” in the process of linking to a cherry blossom poem I translated last year. (Yes, I’m a sucker for flattery, but her blog is a good read, too, with lots of interesting comments about offbeat Tokyo stuff without that look-how-weird-Japan-is tone that can get tedious. And if she doesn’t have a serious posse of gay friends, she needs to get one pronto. Lines such as “Love shoes made from reptiles [my shoe closet looks like a zoo]” are wasted on any audience that doesn’t include a healthy contingent of uproariously approving fags.)

    Anyway, the poem was here, and now that the cherry blossoms are just beginning to shed their petals, it’s nice to reproduce:

    ねがはくば花の下にて春しなんその如月の望月のころ

    西行法師

    negawakuba/hana no moto nite/haru shinan/sono kisaragi no/mochidzuki no koro

    Saigyō Hōshi

    If I have my wish,
    I will die beneath the boughs
    laden with blossoms–
    Spring, the night of the full moon,
    second moon of the new year.

    The Priest Saigyo

    See, if you die beneath the boughs while the petals are still on them, looking gorgeous, you don’t have to be disillusioned by the sight, a week later, of them all lying on the ground in a dingy, grey, gutter-choking paste.

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