Proclaimeth the calendar that spring cometh eleven days hence. But, prithee, just gazeth outside thy front door – and thou shalt find that Nature hath forestalled that written prophecy by crafting its own agenda – or whatever they called a businesslike order in days of yore.
Japanese literature, on the other hand, has always excelled in encapsulating the arrival of spring in such pithy verses as Haiku and Tanka. No perorations of multisyllabic thinking and philosophical meanderings, just a down-to-earth feeling of what awaits one in the countryside, when thoughts turn to what our good earth has to offer us, time and again – unfailingly!
Below are a couple of insightful examples I have to offer in original Japanese verses (Roman italics) and my transcreation underneath them in English. I trust you’ll be encouraged by them to seek the great outdoors over the next few weeks and months after experiencing one of the cruelest of winters in our cherished land of plenty: it never fails to live up to being full of unexpected surprises – weather-wise, that is!
I took the iPadMini photo below from my living-room window this morning to epitomize what will probably be – God willing! – the last day of below-freezing weather in Englewood, New Jersey, before we welcome the arrival of spring on March the 20th.
Ezra Pound, born 130 years ago, poeticized right when he parodied below (in bold) – albeit with some profanity – the anonymous 13th century Cuckoo Song (in Italics) by writing:
Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm. ______________________________
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
And springth the wude nu – Sing cuccu!
The YouTube video below features my ‘doodling’ on one of my Yamaha pianos the two favorites amongst the general populace of the 20th century, no matter where in the world:
the first, “Danny Boy,” has always been the Irish song, which has been most loved and admired from the early 1900’s onwards;
the second, “Edelweiss,” was one of the most captivating songs that helped mightily to get the film’s being awarded with an Oscar for not only being the “Best Picture” that year, but also capturing the devotion of music-lovers everywhere.
Its lyric is copied below for your enjoyment as you listen to the second segment of the music:
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever
50 years ago, my family and I saw the opening of “The Sound of Music” in Calcutta. Many years later we still have an old CBS Fox Video of it as part of our fairly extensive music library in Englewood, NJ – more in memory, as modern technology has rendered such old formats virtually obsolete! Nevertheless, as I write on this note-worthy 50th anniversary, the New Jersey ‘hills are alive’ here and blanketed in snow not unlike the Salzburger alpine background to much of the movie.