Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

I send you home
in the morning, the snowy path
crunches under your feet
Oh snow, fall with
the scent of apples!

Kitahara Hakushū

From Kiri no Hana (Paulownia Flowers, 1913). In the late Meiji period.Hakushū defined a new era in modern poetry with his collections Jashūmon and Omoide; with Kiri no Hana he also became a central figure in tanka. This was not only because of its new style, but also because of the metamorphosis (recorded in the “Poems of Sorrow” section of Kiri no Hana) in his personal life that came about because of his arrest for having an adulterous affair: “A snowy night,/we draw near/the red hearth,/another’s wife and I ――/where can we go from here?” (yuki no yo no / akaki iro ni / suriyoritsu / hitozuma to ware to / nan to subekemu) But the real newness of his style was in poems like the one above. An innate freshness of the senses, an effortless luminosity.



北原白秋(きたはら はくしゅう)