Hatsyuki. Sakura tengai
‘Shirotae’ no ki
Mt. Fuji Kaika Cheri
First snow of the season. Cherry blossom canopy
‘Shirotae’ a tree
Mt. Fuji Flowering Cherry
The first version of this poem above, mostly in Japanese words. Is in the shape of Prunus serrulatta ‘Shirotae.’ My favorite Japanese flowering cherry tree. Commonly called: Mt. Fuji Flowering Cherry. Known for its horizontal, spreading canopy, and early white spring blossoms that arrive before the leaves. It dawned on me that both the flowering canopy and then the falling petals resemble snow. Not to mention the common name reference to Mt. Fuji. The word Hatsyuki translated, means: First snow of the season. Which is symbolic and ironic, as it is Spring time. I put the word Hatsyuki in the first line as a form of a hokku, which is a Japanese poem form with its subject in the first line. Though traditionaly, hokku (which became haiku) are only 17 syllables. Three lines, 5-7-5 syllables respectively in American form. Japanese traditionally wrote some forms of poems in one word lines running vertically. The trunk of the tree with the hidden roots gives hommage to that as both the support of the canopy and the traditional Japanese style of poetry as base for the poem. The word “sekisetsu,” meaning: fallen snow, is at the base of the trunk, touching the ground as fallen snow would be.
I have written this poem in much shorter versions as a haiku and as a tanka which is a 5-7-5-7-7 five line poem of 31 syllables. They can be found elsewhere on my blog with similar titles or references. I hope you enjoy this longer version of the poem, its symbolism, my translation and the explanation.
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