Cherry Blossom Epiphany: The Poetry and Philosophy of a Flowering Tree

Front Cover
Paraverse Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 740 pages
1 Review
Cherry Blossom Epiphany - the poetry and philosophy of a flowering tree - a selection, translation and lengthy explication of 3000 haiku, waka, senryu and kyoka about a major theme from I.P.O.O.H. (In Praise Of Olde Haiku)by robin d. gill 1. Haiku -Translation from Japanese to English 2. Japanese poetry - 8c-20c - waka, haiku and senryu 3. Natural History - flowering cherries 4. Japan - Culture - Edo Era 5. Nonfiction - Literature 6. Translation - applied 7. You tell me! If the solemn yet happy New Year's is the most important celebration of Japanese (Yamato) ethnic culture, and the quiet aesthetic practice of Moon-viewing in the fall the most elegant expression of Pan-Asian Buddhism=religion, the subject of this book, Blossom-viewing - which generally means sitting down together in vast crowds to drink, dance, sing and otherwise enjoy the flowering cherry in full-bloom - is less a rite than a riot (a word originally meaning an 'uproar'). The major carnival of the year, it is unusual for being held on a date that is not determined by astronomy, astrology or the accidents of history as most such events are in literate cultures. It takes place whenever the cherry trees are good and ready. Enjoyed in the flesh, the blossom-viewing, or hanami, is also of the mind, so much so, in fact, that poetry is often credited with the spread of the practice over the centuries from the Imperial courts to the maids of Edo. Nobles enjoyed link-verse contests presided over by famous poet-judges. Hermits hung poems feting this flower of flowers (to say the generic "flower" = hana in Japanese connotes "cherry!") on strips of paper from the branches of lone trees where only the wind would read them. In the Occident, too, flowers embody beauty and serve as reminders of mortality, but there is no flower that, like the cherry blossom, stands for all flowers. Even the rose, by any name, cannot compare with the sakura in depth and breadth of poetic trope or viewing practice. In Cherry Blossom Epiphany, Robin D. Gill hopes to help readers experience, metaphysically, some of this alternative world. Haiku is a hyper-short (17-syllabet or 7-beat) Japanese poem directly or indirectly touching upon seasonal phenomena, natural or cultural. Literally millions of these ku have been written, some, perhaps, many times, about the flowering cherry (sakura), and the human activity associated with it, blossom-viewing (hanami). As the most popular theme in traditional haiku (haikai), cherry-blossom ku tend to be overlooked by modern critics more interested in creativity expressed with fresh subjects; but this embarrassment of riches has much to offer the poet who is pushed to come up with something, anything, different from the rest and allows the editor to select from what is, for all practical purposes, an infinite number of ku. Literary critics, take note: Like Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! (2003) and Fly-ku! (2004), this book not only explores new ways to anthologize poetry but demonstrates the practice of multiple readings (an average of two per ku) as part of a composite translation turned into an object of art by innovative clustering. Book-collectors might further note that while Cherry Blossom Epiphany may not be hardback, it takes advantage of the many symbols included with Japanese font to introduce design ornamentation (the circle within the circle, the reverse (Buddhist) swastika, etc.) hitherto not found in English language print. It is a one-of-a-kind work of design by the author."
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

that's nice but i hope that you will translate it in arabic that will be very nice

Contents

I
23
II
33
III
39
IV
55
V
79
VI
84
VII
97
VIII
106
XXXVII
409
XXXVIII
427
XXXIX
430
XL
443
XLI
446
XLII
467
XLIII
470
XLIV
489

IX
127
X
142
XI
154
XII
159
XIII
186
XIV
195
XV
202
XVI
219
XVII
241
XVIII
260
XIX
264
XX
268
XXI
269
XXII
273
XXIII
281
XXIV
286
XXV
297
XXVI
305
XXVII
320
XXVIII
324
XXIX
334
XXX
346
XXXI
359
XXXII
367
XXXIII
376
XXXIV
382
XXXV
393
XXXVI
399
XLV
491
XLVI
497
XLVII
502
XLVIII
525
XLIX
550
L
571
LI
574
LII
588
LIII
593
LIV
596
LV
602
LVI
607
LVII
617
LVIII
625
LIX
632
LX
641
LXI
650
LXII
660
LXIII
671
LXIV
682
LXV
700
LXVI
708
LXVII
713
LXVIII
717
LXIX
725
LXX
731
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 426 - For your embroider'd garments are from earth. You do obey your months and times, but I Would have it ever Spring: My fate would know no Winter, never die, Nor think of such a thing. O that I could my bed of earth but view And smile, and look as cheerfully as you!
Page 44 - Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road. A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire, And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire; A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head. I...
Page 44 - The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head. I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire, And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire; But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made, Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands, The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
Page 10 - The individuals of the vegetable world may be considered as inferior or less perfect animals; a tree is a congeries of many living buds, and in this respect resembles the branches of coralline, which are a congeries of a multitude of animals. Each of these buds of a tree has its proper leaves or petals for lungs, produces its viviparous or its oviparous offspring in buds or seeds; has its own roots, which extending down the stem of the tree are interwoven with the roots of the other buds, and form...
Page 426 - Oh teach me to see Death and not to fear, But rather to take truce; How often have I seen you at a bier, And there look fresh and spruce. You fragrant flowers then teach me that my breath, Like yours, may sweeten and perfume my death.
Page 10 - ... other buds, and form the bark, which is the only living part of the stem, is annually renewed, and is superinduced upon the former bark, which then dies, and with its stagnated juices gradually hardening into wood forms the concentric circles, which we see in blocks of timber. The following circumstances evince the individuality of the buds of trees. First, there are many trees, whose whole internal wood is perished, and yet the branches are vegete and healthy. Secondly, the fibres of the barks...
Page 547 - But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity.
Page 10 - ... that the digestive power of vegetables is similar to that of animals converting the fluids, which they absorb, into sugar; that their seeds resemble the eggs of animals, and their buds and bulbs their viviparous offspring. And, lastly, that the anthers and stigmas are real animals, attached indeed to their parent tree like polypi or coral insects, but capable of spontaneous motion; that they are affected with the...
Page 455 - Whatever actually occurs is spoiled for art. All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic.
Page 10 - Secondly, the fibres of the barks of trees are chiefly longitudinal, resembling roots, as is beautifully seen in those prepared barks, that were lately brought from Otaheita. Thirdly, in horizontal wounds of the bark of trees, the fibres of the upper lip are always elongated downwards like roots, but those of the lower lip do not approach to meet them. Fourthly, if you wrap wet moss round any joint of a vine, or cover it with moist earth, roots will shoot out from it. Fifthly, by the inoculation...

About the author (2006)

The author's first book in English, Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! (Paraverse Press: 2003), a translation and essay of almost 1,000 holothurian haiku, was highly acclaimed as ga classich and the multiple translations credited with "raising the bar" for translators. In this book with 3,000 haiku about cherry blossoms and blossom-viewing, Gill demonstrates his art on a subject of broader interest.

Bibliographic information