Young Maple

Cooling on the porch
I think of when I lay in
A young maple’s shade

The fragrant south wind kisses
Young leaves switching clothes at last
Sugawara no Tokihira

Liner notes:

Sometimes, when exchanging poetry, a person would send a partial poem for the recipient to complete. Summer in the traditional Japanese calendar begins in early May. Cooling on the porch, a tree’s shade, young maple leaves, fragrant breezes, the south wind, young leaves, and switching clothes are all evocative of summer, in particular early summer. St. Cecilia’s at the Tower is an event for music. The fencing community had been requested to help with the event, by running gate and serving in the kitchen. However, it was held on our 11th anniversary. So Fujinami and I ran gate for three hours in the morning, and then left to spend the rest of our anniversary together. The first three lines was written by me, and the last two are Fujinami’s response. Of special note, Fujinami’s use name is Kaede, which means ‘maple’. The title of the poem in Japanese is “Waka Kaede,” which could also mean “Poetry for Kaede”.

The form is waka, Japanese in origin with a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern of syllables.  Event held 9th day of 4th month, AS XLVIII. This poem was composed for the Pentamere Pilgrimage Challenge, the eighth poem in the series; in addition, Calum has written an amusing take on his experiences at an event.


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