Verseday - Cherry Blossom Haikus

April is National Poetry Month, and I thought how better to celebrate it than by honouring the mesmerizing cherry blossoms that are beginning to show everywhere! In Japan, this is prime hanami (flower watching) season, a time that brings together Japanese families as they gather for picnics beneath the shade of the cherry trees. The custom of hanami is thought to have been started by the Japanese aristocracy thousands of years ago as a way to reflect on the transience and beauty of life mirrored by these short-lived flowers. Today, people go hanami all over the world to celebrate the coming of Spring with special parties held day and night.

But more than anything, it’s the time when we are reminded of the brevity of life. Of time. This is when we are urged to seize the moment when it’s beautiful before it withers away into oblivion.

So, here are three very striking haikus by classical Japanese poets who were immensely inspired by these fragile, pretty flowers. I also came across a quote from Yoshida Kenko’s “A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees,” which I haven’t read but am now very inspired to, thanks to this great review by A Reader of Literature.

I leave you with Kenko’s musing below. And now it’s time for me to go and hunt for some cherry blossoms in my neighbourhood!

“Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom, the moon only when it is cloudless? To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blinds and be unaware of the passing of the spring—these are even more deeply moving. Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with faded flowers are worthier of our admiration.”




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