Blossoms fallen

Here's a haiku by Ueshima Onitsura 上島鬼貫 (1660-1738) that I enjoyed today:

Hana chitte/ mata shizuka nari/ Onjō-ji
Blossoms fallen/ still once more/ Onjō-ji

"Post-hanami" is a relatively neglected subject for serious poetry, and the recreation-via-ordering is masterful: the flowers fall, the scene clears, and a temple is revealed. (There's impermanence and then there's impermanence, you see.)

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L.N. Hammer:

Has it become "still" or "quiet"? And is it the petals or the viewers who have stilled/quieted?



In my mind, what has become quiet/still is the null subject (or maybe the temple scene, if we make that distinction). The "mata" is key to why I don't think it's the petals-- were they ever still/quiet in the first place? (Do we call them "quiet" while they're still budding? Hmm.) I don't really see people at all when I read this.

As for still/quiet, it's a tough one. I went with "still" because sakura fall silently, although if you are envisioning the falling as a big hanami with drinking and singing that would be different. Of course "quiet" could be figurative too...



The shapes of this section are like the falling motions of petals. The kanji at the beginning and the end of the poem..the a and u..


The blossoming has gone still, after the stage of rapid growth and flowering.

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