Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

The flowers have gone back
to their roots, the birds
to their old nests
Who knows where spring
is gone to rest?

Sutoku In

Senzaishū, Book II, Spring 1. Very few Japanese emperors have had as tragic a life as Sutoku. A shadow was cast even over the circumstances of his birth, and it is said that that was why his father, Emperor Toba, shunned him. He played a leading role in the Hōgen War, and as a result was exiled to the island of Sanuki, where he died. But Sutoku was also one of the very best poets among all the emperors, and his poems express emotion eloquently. This poem is about late spring. The flowers have scattered and returned to their roots, and the birds have returned to their old nests; only spring is untraceable ――no one knows where it is staying now, or to where is has returned.

(Hana)(wa)(ne)(ni)(tori)(wa)古巣(furusu)(ni)帰る(kaeru)なり(nari) (Haru)(no)とまり(tomari)(wo)知る(shiru)(hito)(zo)なき(naki)