Friday, January 16, 2015






Gon-Chunagon (Oe no) Masafusa

On that distant mount,
O'er the slope below the peak,
Cherries are in flower;

May the mists of nearer hills
Not arise to veil the scene.


The mountains and
the flowering dogwoods
Were never so beautiful

as that day our brakes
completely failed
as we rolled down.


Gon-Chunagon (Oe no) Masafusa, 1041-1111 C.E., was an official and close friend of the Emperor. Here he simply notices the evanescent beauty of a mountainside booming in cherry (the blossoms fall very quickly after opening) and expresses the wish the mists, which do tend to rise as day advances, will for once "choose" not to do so, preserving the view.

We can almost hear The Old Nurse's snort. She reverses the scene and shows us the cherry trees in close-up. The people beneath them have the view to themselves, as the place where the old lord is standing is now completely obscured!

Risa vividly recalls an incident in which a precommercial thinning crew's crew vehicle (she was the driver) lost all its brake fluid to a sharp branch just as they began a thousand foot descent down a steep road. Life is very beautiful in the eyes of those who expect they will soon lose it!