Crow and Heron, or Young Lovers Walking Together under an Umbrella in a Snowstorm, ca. 1769. Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770; Polychrome woodcut print on paper). Image Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Time and romance: a topic of reverie, memory and contemplation. In another post, I mentioned a quote from the film, Crimes and Misdemeanors:
For love's paradox with the past, here are some words from one of the greatest modern Japanese poets, Kitahara Hakushū (pen-name of Kitahara Ryūkichi, born 5 January, 1885; died 2 November, 1942). There is a review of a recent book about him, here (Hat tip: Michael Steger). The review has a translation of one of Kitahara's tanka poems, which are masterworks of simplicity:"You will notice that what we are aiming at when we fall in love is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that, when we fall in love, we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted upon us. So that love contains in it the contradiction: The attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past."
Tsume no urumi ni
Ochishi miruku mo
Natsukashi to minu
|The drop of milk |
Which had fallen
On the light red polish
Of her nails
Made me yearn for the past
Japanese poet, Kitahara Hakushū. Image Source: Wiki.
And a longer, haunted poem, courtesy of Michael Steger's Tumblr:
The Water Surface
At evening the falling flowers of the willow
Make a twilight, and through it
The water surface appears,
Reflecting the eyes of the daughter of the house.
While I felt myself caressed in your heart,
Your face singularly pale,
Suddenly one of the ripples changed its color
And showed the eyes of an imaginary ogre.
When I, frightened, stared at it,
It turned silvery like a tiny minnow,
Changed into a harmonica, into an oar,
And back into the eyes of the girl.
The willow flowers are falling on
A dragon-fly-hunter by the gutter of the eaves,
And my mind, tired, alone,
Is softly caressed at the surface of the water.
(Translated from the Japanese; translator unknown; first published in Poetry in 1956)
See all my posts on Love in the New Millennium.