CHERRY BLOSSOMS AND GREEN LEAVES

An early summer hokku by Dempuku:

Though the blossoms
On the cherry tree have gone —
The young leaves!

It is not a very strong verse, but nonetheless we understand what he is getting at:  while the universally-appreciated blossoms of the cherry have all fallen, after them come the fresh young leaves, and it takes someone with a rather developed aesthetic sense to appreciate those as well.  That is a part of the hokku aesthetic — to appreciate the beauty of things that are not flamboyant, things that one may easily overlook.

We may say that after the beauty of a cherry tree in full blossom, the fresh green young leaves can hardly compare; but that is the point.  In hokku we do not compare, but appreciate each part of Nature for what it is.  In general, hokku favors the less obvious beauty, preferring the dandelion to the hothouse orchid.

I have added “though” to the original, because it makes its meaning more evident in English.

David

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