Although this is my favorite season, my recent spate of posts containing bitter-sweet autumn poems is starting to get to me. Despite the fact that we have made barely a dent in the cornucopia (sorry, I couldn't resist) of autumnal verse, a brief respite is in order. I feel a need for perspective.
Alas, the "perspective" that I have hit upon has a bitter-sweet air of its own. To wit: the whole of Life (the World, Nature, Existence, "everything that is the case," et cetera) is, after all, a matter of "here today, gone tomorrow," isn't it? Yet, if one presents that truism in a beautiful fashion, it is (for me at least) comforting. (And, oh yes, bitter-sweet.)
Shall I compare the world?
It is like the wake
Vanishing behind a boat
That has rowed away at dawn.
Sami Manzei (8th century) (translated by Edwin Cranston), A Waka Anthology, Volume 1: The Gem-Glistening Cup (Stanford University Press 1993).
Like dew that vanishes,
like a phantom that disappears,
or the light cast
by a flash of lightning --
so should one think of oneself.
Ikkyu (1394-1481) (translated by Steven Carter), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology (Stanford University Press 1991).
Our life in this world --
to what shall I compare it?
It's like an echo
resounding through the mountains
and off into the empty sky.
Ryokan (1758-1831) (translated by Steven Carter), Ibid.