Friday, November 25, 2011






Oshikochi no Mitsune

If it were my wish
White chrysanthemum to cull —
Puzzled by the frost

Of the early autumn time,
I by chance might pluck the flower.


I could not know
you waited for me here —
The falling petals

had already obscured
your steps.


Oshikochi Mitsune, a court official and regional governor, was active around 900 C.E. He was very successful in poetic culture and many of his poems survive. He was listed as one of the Thirty-Six Poetry Immortals

Hokusai's series of woodcuts for the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is incomplete as this is one of the poems for which we have nothing from his hand. There is one by Kunisada, showing a gift of picked white chrysanthemums that appear to have been delivered to a lady, who seems surprised to discover them.

Risa's Oregon response is fairly straightforward. She hopes to evoke the memory of a missed appointment through the universal symbolism of fallen petals. It may be presumed they are white chrysanthemum, in which case the incident occurred in perhaps November or December (Risa of course lives in the Northern Hemisphere) and the color of the mum symbolizes a lasting regret, perhaps even the end of a relationship.