Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

we:

we:

BY LAKE BIWA

We returned in the twilight to the (By the dream-like waters of Lake Biwa's

Flower Capital to say farewell.

As we parted, the knight slipped a tide,

sheet of folded paper into my hand: In the opal haze, one eve of spring, were

"Keep this poem in memory of a My loved one whispered, sitting at my side.

happy day by Lake Biwa in Kioto." "The color of forget-me-not,” said she.)

IN YAMADA. ISE.
It was a beautiful day late in April. By the dream-like waters of Lake Biwa's tide,
The soft caress of spring was in the air

In the opal haze, one eve of spring, were
when one day my knight and I found
ourselves by Lake Biwa, the lake of the My loved one whispered, sitting at my side.
lute.

“The color of forget-me-not,” said she. The water was softly lapping against the stones beneath the tiny balcony, as The shadows are lengthening; the sun we sat in the small four-and-a-half mat sets in crimson glory behind dark gray, room of the rural hostelry of Zé-zé. lavender, and purple clouds. Silver

Our hearts were full of content and mists spread over the river and veil the happiness, things distressful and far- emerald hills beyond. A cool, caressing away had lost their power. We felt free zephyr rises from the water and stirs of the world, the ukiyo, the unstable the feathery bamboos of the grove. world of change and pain and care.

Life wakes again in the heat-becalmed A soft, opalescent haze hung over the foliage, and the giant magnolia shading blue mirror-like lake, and the boats, the veranda drops now and again agewith their sails, in the hazy distance lay brown petals from the ivory chalices of as in a mirage of fairy-land. The its magnificent blossoms. rhythm of oars in the offing borne softly, The peewit's cry is heard as they wing so softly over the waters, sounded like their way along the shore and over the heavenly music, marking the happy stream, and the creaking oar of a boat time.

moving up-stream brings to mind the Ah, how beautiful the hour was as our Feast of the Farther Shore, the Higan, hearts unfolded and blossomed with love when in the spring and autumn priests in the sunshine of life!

pray for the souls of the departed. As the knight was about to start on a Heat-weary and languidly longing for journey, our hours together were num- the cool at the end of the day, we stroll bered. Touched to wistfulness because beside the river-bank. of the parting to come, sweet, oh, sweet As we pass through the grass, the dew were these fleeting, tranquil moments on the shore of the lake of the lute!

Hiding the emotion I felt, I said as I looked at the knight:

"To-day the lake is the color of forget-me-not."

My hand crept to his in blissful trust, and his pressed mine in a silent response.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on our bare sandaled feet soothes and This artistic creation is placed on a revives us. With the twilight we find cart and drawn along with great ostentapeace and rest and sanctuary from the tion of staggering by young men who fulsome, noisy glare of a midsummer day. lunge forward or backward to the acThe sonorous cry of the sad cicada, the companiment of vociferous shouting. "day-darkener," rings in the evening The second taimatsu is decorated with like a temple bell, and the threnody of an enormous red lily. Four torches, the flowing river drifts like music over like harvest symbols, one for each part the quiet landscape.

of the village, are thus borne along, As we saunter along the river, up escorted by the villagers, men, women, from the village comes noise of an un- and children. wonted commotion.

The conch-shells are blown "ho-ho-ho," Hark! the conch-shells drone in the the gong clashes "kan-kan-kan," the distance "ho-ho-ho," and the drum drum throbs "don-don-don," and the throbs "don-don,” and the gong

is beaten torch-cars pass forward to the river"kan-kan.In unison the village or- shore. chestra keeps rhythm: “ho-ho, don-don, When the four taimatsu have reached kan-kan.

the bank, with great ceremony and claThis is the O Yare, the summer festi- mor they are lighted by the young men, val of the village. The O Yare is the and the bonfires flare into the night. great “driving-away" of insects through Bundles of wood and straw are thrown bonfires on the river-bank.

into the flames; the villagers beat the Insects in myriads, attracted by the bonfires with long sticks, each striving light, fly toward the fires and meet to make his fire burn the brightest. The death in the flames. Thus the rice- flames rise high in the sky and cast long, fields and gardens are freed of these pests. fiery reflections upon the river. The O Yare is the great "sending-off." How happy are the married couple

The rustics gather in the street, wait- first staying together in the paternal ing for the torches to appear. The home! The Festival of the O Yare shouts of the youths are heard in the seems to them the welcome celebration distance. The procession soon comes of coming to their Ise home. into view.

The first torch (taimatsu) is a stack of straw built with an umbrella-like roof. Against this great sheaf purple lanterns are draped as bunches of grapes, and yellow lanterns are arranged to look like luscious loquatsz. Giant apples of bamboo frame and painted paper add to this bright cluster of harvest fruit.

[graphic]

MORNING-GLORIES WOULD you know the purest ecstasy in life? Would you know the thrill of a revelation beyond the sweetest dreams, beyond all that mortal imagination may conjure up in happy vision?

Then come with me before the break of day to my woodland shrine beside a running rill. Here behold the morningglory unfold her dewy freshness to the dawn, while as high priestess at the altar raised to the love of nature she offers heavenward the adoration of simple souls, who in the moonlight have counted with the fervor of prayer and the anticipation of hope the buds that would open at the first ray of the rising sun.

Around us the birds, unseen choristers of the woods, burst forth in happy alleluias, warbling with liquid cadence among the trees.

Oh, morning-glories, morning-glories!

Born with the dew and the first breath of dawn, these virgins, luminous as the moonlight, evanescent as the rainbow, and pure and cool as the source of a mountain spring, hold their first and last communion at sunrise, when soon, too soon, they wilt and die.

To this early service with the devotees of the morning come the honey-bee and the jewel-mailed dragon-fly and the peacock-sheened butterfly with black, velvety wings, all seeking the sweet transports of life.

As the delicate chalices of the morningglory are lifted to greet the sunlight, what marvels of color do they reveal! humming-bird, as delicate as that of the No queen in all her glory was ever forget-me-not and robin's-egg blue, and ravishingly arrayed like one of these. there is heaven's deep azure which the

Beneath the softest bloom of velvet, universe gathers in its depths, embracthe gleaming luster of silk, or the filmy ing and blessing all. iridescence of pearl, what crystalliza- This is the coronation of the blessed tions of the prism are displayed, what morn. Behold, diadems of dew tremugleams of tropic fires, what rose-bursts lous with the first stirrings of the leaves, of dawn!

and brighter than the gems in any Soul-rapt, I gaze upon moonstone- monarch's crown, hang on every tree! misted mauves as delicate as the pale Now a tense stillness of expectation fills amethyst from the Koshu Mountains, the air, while the incense of the earth, and pinks as soft as the faintly blushing the fragrance of flowers, is wafted on the cherries that tinge the hills of spring, wings of the life-giving breezes of the upon white as immaculate as falling dawn. flakes of snow.

Then come with me to this coronation And who shall describe the blues that of the blessed morn, and participate in the morning-glory reveals? There is the rapture of this innocent revel. blue as thrillingly brilliant as the scin- Leave the heavy-lidded eyed to their tillating blue in the plumage of the prison of slothful sleep and come forth. Come, oh, come! Delay not, for the Round my heart has the morninghours of the morning-glory's life are glory wound itself, and those tender, short. A little longer than the natal fragile bands, I too, will never break; veil of dew does the flower last. Then for the morning-glory has given my soul the approach of that ardent lover, the a new joy, my life a new zest, and myself sun, scorches the flower, and even before a new virtue—the virtue of greeting the noon does the morning-glory die.

[graphic]

rising sun. With the happy unknown peasant Oh, come with me to this feast of poet of to-day, I find in the flowering of beauty, and with the dragon-fly and the the morning-glory the realization of the bee and the butterfly learn the simple ideal of all I have ever hoped or dreamed delight of watching the morning-glory of bliss or perfection.

unfold her dewy freshness at break of Dear, indeed, to me the morning-glory;

day! Day by day there opens in its blossoms

PLUM-BLOSSOMS All my dreams!

PLUM-BLOSSOMS! Plum-blossoms! Fair 0, morning-glory, the poets and heralds of the spring! My heart leaps philosophers see in your short life a sym

with joy when your dainty, starlike bol of the impermanence of human

flowers of pearl and snow begin to illuexistence. They lament your ephemeral mine the bare branches of the old, old beauty, which, after a brief triumph of

trees, gnarled and bent like a dragon splendor, perishes under the merciless with age. Odorous of the genial days sun of day.

of spring are the chill winds of February Let me rather glory in the perfection and March, when your sweet flowers you attain in the shortest of days, a sun- bloom, braving with samurai spirit the lit hour of the dawn! Let me, too, strive later frosts and snow of the year. to make perfect the little which is mine,

Thus have you become a symbol of and then, like you, O morning-glory, womanly beauty and virtue, with fortishall I be an uplifting impetus, a living tude proving sweet patience and courage joy to all I meet!

and endurance during the storms of The maiden poetess, Chiyo of kagat, adversity. spiritual soul, one morning went to

In the beginning of a friendship, on a draw water from her well, when she pilgrimage to admire the plum-blossoms, found that during the night a morning- the eldest flowers of Mother Earth," glory vine, with its tendrils and tender,

the knight first led me forth from the green stalk, had encircled the rope of city. her bucket.

Oh, the surprising charm of nature's Those beautiful fetters she refused to

ethereal beauty that awaits the pilgrim break, and bereft of her crystal draft, at the Akebonoya, “The Tea-house of she set out to beg water from a neighbor- the Dawn!” ing well, composing the ever since

In the hillside garden there the plumcelebrated hokku on the way:

blossoms form a, canopy of flower(My bucket being taken

wreathed branches, some faintly flushed This morn by morning-glory,

with soft pink, others ivory and pearly I come to beg for water.)

white, all softly radiant in the sunlight. On each side the gently rising path- "I am no poet," I replied, and felt way, the nanten, or heavenly bamboo, myself blushing. “It is a task too hard beneath a crown of beautiful leaves, sus- for me.” pends luxuriant bunches of crimson A few days later the postman brought berries that shed a rich warm glow under me the knight's own response: the fairy-like tapestry of bloom above.

In this flower pavilion we lingered, Not only of themselves the flowers inhaling the scented air, admiring the Are rarely beautiful this year. delicate beauty of the flowers and the 'Tis you, my friend, my heart's dear friend, sturdier brightness of the contrasting Have given to them your charm. berries. I felt as if I had entered the magical

Oh, to think of it! Oh, to dream of it! gates of dreamland. The quickening

The lure of the plum-blossoms had led joy of expectancy thrilled my being. A

me into the beautiful kingdom of shimmer of revelation flashed through

romance! me. I felt that something more perfect,

Plum-blossoms, plum-blossoms, though something more wonderful, was coming.

the snow still lingers in my garden and The voice of the knight recalled me

the winds are bitter cold, my heart from my reverie. He spoke of poems

glows with an expanding joy when I composed in honor of the plum-blos

behold your dainty, starlike flowers

bloom. soms. “What do you think of this, written

Under a panoply of plum-blossoms it by Saisho Atsuko, a famous poetess of

was the wooing of the knight that first the nineteenth century:

thrilled my soul to the delight and

rhythm of life. 'Dark the night,

It was under the plum-blossoms of And with no star to guide me, yet the gloom spring that I woke to a realizing anticiIs full of hope, for, wasted on the wind,

pation of all the future held in store for The plum-tree's fragrance comes to cheer my me! heart'?

Oh, ecstasy of wonder when in the “That is full of comfort and inspira- spring the plum-blossoms drew me tion, like an allegory of friendship," I

forth from the prosaic world into the land answered; "but will you yourself not

of promise, opening ever fan-like into

the beautiful kingdom of romance! compose one to the blossoms?' The knight was silent a moment and

Oh, tender grace of the plum-blossoms then said:

transforming the wilderness of life with “Listen! I have indited this little

the diamond lights of hope and the tanka, and hope that you will answer me

harmony of love. also in verse.

Blessed, oh, blessed be the dear plum

blossoms of spring! Year by year the sweetness and the hue

Of flowers must always be the same, THE KINGFISHER AND THE WATER-LILIES Why in this year, above all other bloom, Do I admire these springtime plums?

LET us love our children serenely, de

votedly, even passionately. Surely in My heart beat faster as I hastened their innocence and angelic simplicity along the path.

they play on the threshold of heaven.

[graphic]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »