Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"I Hear You Call, Pine Tree" by Yone Noguchi

A Bat Flying Near a Pine Tree, Issho, 19th Century

I hear you call, pine tree, I hear you upon the hill, by the silent pond
where the lotus flowers bloom, I hear you call, pine tree.
What is it you call, pine tree, when the rains fall, when the winds
blow, and when the stars appear, what is it you call, pine tree?
I hear you call, pine tree, but I am blind, and do not know how to
reach you, pine tree. Who will take me to you, pine tree?

1921. Public Domain.

Note: In Japan the pine tree, or matsu (松の木), symbolizes longevity,
virtue and youth and is often associated with masculinity and power
– prior to the Edo period it was a particularly popular decoration on
samurai armour. The word matsu means waiting for the soul of a god
to descend from Heaven, and in ancient Shinto beliefs, the gods were
said to have ascended to Heaven on a pine tree.

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