Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fallen blossom

Spring seems at last to be with us. Here are twenty landscape-related season words (kigo) that are traditionally used in Japanese poetry set during the spring:

hibari - skylarks
kasumi – the springtime haze
kawazu – frogs
kigan – departing geese
ko no me – tree buds
oborozuki – hazy moon
ryuujo – willow fluff
saezuri – the twittering of birds
sakura - cherry blossoms
shirauo - whitbait
shunchoo – spring tide
shundei – spring mud
shunkoo – spring light
shunran – spring orchid
tanemaki – sowing seed
tsumikusa – herb gathering
uguisu - the bush warbler
ume - plum blossom
wasurejimo – last frost
zansetsu – lingering snow

For more kigo see the list of 500 Essential Season Words on the Renku Home site. There is a nice spring haiku by Arakida Moritake (1473-1549) in which he sees a fallen blossom returning to the bough, only to realise it is a butterfly:

rakka eda ni / kaeru to mireba / kocho kana

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