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Lightly falling snow
covers all the places where
love wounded my heart
setting me upon this path –
unafraid I draw my sword

*Jisei (辞世 – Japanese, lit. “resignation”) is a form of “death poem” that is part of the literary tradition of several east Asian nations. In Japan, it dates back to at least the 7th century AD, and was usually recited by a literate person on their deathbed or in the face of imminent death. Typically – though not exclusively – in the form of a tanka, it conveys the author’s final reflections on existence generally or on their own life.

Line 1: “lightly falling snow”. In classical Japanese poetry, lightly falling snow (Sasameyuki 細雪) is a metaphor for the silent falling of cherry blossoms in the Spring, itself an image of the transient, fleeting beauty of life. The novelist Junichiro Tanizaki used it as the title for his most famous novel, known in the West as “The Marioka Sisters”.

© Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2019. All rights reserved.