Spring according to the lunar calendar adopted by Japan from China begins in the first week of February.



haru to ieba/kasumi ni keri na/kinou made/namima ni mieshi/awadjishimayama

shun'e houshi

They say spring is here.
There is a shroud of mist
where just yesterday
I saw it between the waves--
Awaji Island peak

The Priest Shun'e

Winter air is cold and clear; with spring comes warmer, moister air, bringing haze and lower visibility. Shun'e the poet draws a pat distinction between yesterday, when Awaji Island was clearly visible some distance from the shoreline, and today, the first day of spring, when mist has risen around it. The poignancy of the poem comes from the unstated recognition, by Shun'e the person and by us, that things don't actually change quite that cleanly. Today's mist would have no meaning if yesterday's clear weather didn't linger in his mind. And even in literal terms, the cold winter air is probably not gone for the year yet.

Added later: In completely unrelated news, Inauguration Day may not have changed as many things as it first seemed, either.
Posted by Sean on 2009-02-03 18:35:01

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