Walking on Petals and Cloud

花あれば西行の日とおもふべし ..Genyoshi Kadokawa

Grey dawn –
warblers song resonating
as cherry petals scatter .. (Mari Kawaguchi)

A quiet morning after rain. Nine Hailstones rolled out of the local bus at Nakasenbon to find the storms had blown pink.

trailside stone table
forgotten in Yoshino mist
adorned with petals .. (John McAteer)

Even the bush-warbler
Sounds bedraggled –
Silver-beaded trees. .. (Tito)

Beside the site of Katte Shrine, where Yoshitsune’s mistress, Shizuka, had once been forced to dance, we were served spring herb kamameshi. Then the haike began in earnest: uphill to the Kamisenbon woods, still in flower.

From green-lit Yoshino
a myriad coloured trees –
how vast the mountainside .. (Akira Kibi)

Mikumari Jinja, where the water deity resides, was looking at its very best, with the venerable courtyard shidare-zakura in full bloom.

felt with my eyes closed
the mercy of
a weeping cherry-tree .. (Reiko Hayahara)

A steep slog to another shrine, Kimpu Jinja, favoured by the mountain ascetics entering the sacred precinct of the Omine Range. To one side, in a dark grove, the place where Yoshitsune had hid from his pursuers.

Deserted tower –
it brings to mind
that ancient warrior,
his back to the wall .. (Akito Mori)

The party separated in the Gyoja-do; only four of us continuing on uphill through cloud-wrapped forest. The rest returned home. Over a col, and we emerged into the steep secrecy of Okusenbon, the mist now clearing. Utter silence; a tiny mud-walled, bark-roofed hut, where the poet-priest Saigyo had spent three years of his life.

吉野山桜が枝に雪散りて 花おそげなる年にもあるかな .. (Saigyo)

Cupping springwater
Deep in Mt. Yoshino –
Blossom-in-mist .. (Yoshiharu Kondo)

Drinking deep draughts from the Kokeshimizu spring, filling our water-bottles … Now envigorated, we scampered back over the col, and down to the road, but found we’d just missed the last bus! Our early evening hike back down through the gently-scattering cherries of Kamisenbon, lights beginning to twinkle around the great Zao-do temple far below: this was epiphanous for all of us.

Thank you, o daughter of the blossoming cherry. Will you come out? Will you come out?

a bath chimney
trails its woodsmoke …
spring village eve .. (Keiko Yurugi)

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