The earth is not a dream but living flesh

California garden views. Photo by me.

by Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004)

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you’re sure it’s there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.

Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass


as soon as these blossoms open they fall

cherry blossoms.jpg
Cherry blossom season in Tokyo, Spring 2018. Photo by me. 

For your Saturday, a fleeting and powerful poem by Izumi Shikibu, who was considered one of the greatest women poets of Japan’s Heian period (794-1185).

“Come quickly –as soon as
these flowers open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.”

translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani