When spring escapes
freed from being huddled in winter’s sleep,
the birds that had been stilled
burst into song.
The buds that had been hidden
burst into flower.
The mountains are so thickly forested
that we cannot reach the flowers
and the flowers are so tangled with vines
that we cannot pick them.
When the maple leaves turn scarlet
on the autumn hills,
it is easy to gather them
and enjoy them.
We sigh over the green leaves
but leave them as they are.
That is my only regret–
so I prefer the autumn hills.
~Princess Nukada – 7th Century (K Rexroth I Atsumi, The Burning Heart*)
*note: Princess Nukada lived in the later half of the 7th Century. She was the daughter of Prince Kagami, wife and the favorite of Emperor Temmu.
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