May, 2004

This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
r previous issues.


Botan (Peony)

Ode to Peony

Noh-play "Shakkyou"
Red lion and White lion (not seen here)
dance in intoxication by peonies.
Blossoms and flowers and fresh green leaves!

Among them, the Botan (peony) is always the King of all flowers.

This flower came to Japan with the Chinese culture more than a thousand years ago. Since then it has always allured people as the symbol of wealth and power.
You might think it interesting. In Japanese (Chinese) imagination, LIONS love PEONY. You will see the combination of lion and peony in Noh-play, Kabuki, and paintings.

The beauty of peony, of course, attracts artists and poets.
Haikus, Tankas and paintings have paid tributes to Peony.
Shall we look at the flower with some of the famous Japanese haikus on peony?

The peony
made me measure it
with my fan.
                   Kobayashi Issa

Ooginite shakuwo toraseru botan kana
On all sides
the peony wards off
rain clouds.
                    Yosa Buson

Ho hachiri amagumo yosenu botan kana.

They call this flower white peony,
Yes, but
A little red.
                     Takahama Kyoshi

Hakubotan to iuto iedomo beni honoka.
From the heart
of the sweet peony,
a drunken
                      Matsuo Basho

Botanshibe hukaku wakeizuru hachino nagorikana.
Peony falling -
dropped overlapping
two or three petal  
                               Yosa Buson

Botan chirite uchikasanarinu nisanben
A sole peony
bright in the room
I lie feeble.
                     Masaoka Shiki

Ichirin no botan kagayaku byoma kana.

There is a Peony Garden in the suburbs of Karatsu. The photos above I took there in April, 2004.
I hope someday in early summer you will visit and see many kinds of peonies of the world.

Thank you, and see you next month!

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

Proprietress of Ryokan Yoyokaku

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