Pink Showers

It seems this year’s cherry blossoms had held on a little longer than usual. Perhaps they did so for the benefit of the ten Hailstone poets who attended the flower ginko event at Kyoto Botanical Gardens and Kamo River on April 10th. Anyway, we’d like to think so.

Loosely organized by Ursula and Branko, the late morning and early afternoon were spent at Kyoto Shokubutsuen, the oldest and the most comprehensive public botanical gardens in Japan. A bit surprising then that most poets in our group had never visited it! Since B. is the proud owner of an annual pass to the Gardens, he was a logical choice to guide the poets around, suggesting routes and beauty spots.

KC4F0042We started off at the Tulip Garden near the North Gate. There, we encountered a newly-wed couple, their every step followed by a hired photographer. This sight is not uncommon at the Gardens. What was unusual, though, was that they were evidently not Japanese (probably Korean or Chinese), for their super-relaxed behaviour went hand-in-hand with non-conventional, brown attire!

…….. A fungus wedding dress:
…….. falling sakura
…….. confetti
…………………… Branko

We strolled on, occasionally pausing by this or that plant or tree for a haiku-inspiring moment. The highlights included:
a suikinkutsu (literally ‘water zither cave’), a place where one can listen through a bamboo stalk to water trickling inside a jug buried underground;KC4F0043
the Cherry Garden where, besides cherry blossoms, a Chinese redbud (Cercis chinensis) caught our attention;

…….. brimstone butterfly
…….. zigzags among
…….. weeping cherry blossoms
…………………… Eiko

…………………………………… Right through
…………………………………… The magenta redbud shrub …
…………………………………… Cherry petals streaming
…………………………………………………. Tito

the Lotus Pond, with its withered seed pods;

…….. brown and broken
…….. lotus stems –
…….. the muddy pond
…………………… UrsulaKC4F0031

a waterwheel that somehow rotated too fast for one propelled only by a tenuous stream of water from above;

…….. a maple seedling –
…….. how it trembles
…….. perched just above
…….. the waterwheel!
……………………. Hitomi 

and the Perennial Garden, where we all gathered by a lilac daphne (Daphne genkwa). Each of us took a sniff at its strikingly purple flowers, whose scent, Tito proposed, was that of an iced-sugar lump.

…………………………………… Daphnes bloom –
…………………………………… a yellow butterfly flits around
…………………………………… the spring garden
…………………………………………………. Akito

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter leaving the Shokubutsuen, we dropped into a nearby supermarket and, armed with bento-boxes,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA headed toward the Kamo River. There, we found a cosy spot on its east bank, where we ate, drank and discussed our haiku drafts. We were joined there by Richard D.

As we were preparing to leave, a sudden gust of wind brought about a hanafubuki, a pale-pink cherry blizzard.

…………………. Cherry petals
…………………. gently raining
…………………. on a poet’s palm
…………………………………… Branko

* Click on any photo to enlarge *

6 Responses to “Pink Showers”

  1. Ursula Maierl Says:

    Hi Branko,

    I am happily sharing this with friends internationally and closer to home. Very generous of you to give me ;loosely’ organising credit – any more loose, and it would not have hung together!

    Be well and enjoy this gorgeous day. I am studying Verdi!!

    Ursula

    • U, thanks for sharing the post with your friends. Haiku as lingua franca!
      ‘Loosely’ for want of a better word really. Like many, ‘loose’ is a decidedly slippery term.
      Happy singing!

  2. Is veracity more important than cadence? I guess so with a ginko-inspired haiku. Thus, I reluctantly rewrote my original 2nd line ‘the magenta sappanwood’ as ‘the magenta redbud shrub’, which is not nearly as nice, but at least is accurate. At the gardens, ‘Chinese sappanwood’ had appeared in someone’s digital dictionary as the English for hanazuo ハナズオウ, the shrub in question, pictured just above my haiku. Later research showed ‘Chinese redbud’ was the only term available. Sappanwood looks nothing at all like hanazuo. Drat!

    • Cadence or veracity, that is the perennial question. How many times did I wish this or that plant that had inspired me to write also had a more inspiring name! Life can be cruel. I guess it’s all about compromise and negotiation. At the end of the day, If someone put a gun to my head and told me to make a choice I’d go for a musical effect – a white lie for beauty’s sake.

      • It’s a Shiki versus Basho question: S set great store by verisimilitude and B allowed for ‘fiction’ (altering haiku details in the interest of art).

  3. Mayumi Kawaharada Says:

    Pink Showers…beautiful images. How nice to be in there! Thank you for the nice repot. I wish I were there too.

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