Monday, March 25, 2019

Poem for Spring

No Cherry Blossom Viewing This Spring

You won’t view cherry blossoms in the accepted way.
Saying you’re going to look at cherry blossoms
is only an excuse for hatching more plots.
What do you imagine the cherry blossom is?
It’s the pride of Japan, that’s what—the symbol of our Yamato esprit.
I’ll allow your viewing only if you compliantly
enjoy the cherry blossoms and recapture that spirit.
Unless you do, you don’t go.—Nothing doing, you absolutely don’t go.
What are you saying?  I’m tyrannical?
If that’s what you think, then take a look at these flowers.
Aren’t you aware of the glittering cherry blossoms that bloom
on my epaulets, on my patrolman’s cap?

             -Tsuboi Shigeji (trans. Robert Epp)