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The sound of a bamboo flute drifts

melancholic about the long shadow of Mount Fuji.

Fleeting moments, once stolen behind Imperial gates

when pink and white cherry-blossom buds burst,

and lovers stood 'neath the soft clouds veiled in secrecy,

the common man toiled without, unknowing of pleasure,

while the secret trees billowed in rare beauty

held captive for privileged eyes only.


Growing beyond the gates,

the transience of the opening buds, like life and death,

come and go in an instant.

For the young soldiers, "blooms as flowers of death",

who would litter battlefields, give their all for the Emperor,

die in an instant, fall like bloodied petals to the ground,

there is no beauty on these tainted fields,

where twigs of cherry blossom lie alongside the dead.


No more the secrecy,

the death pacts, the suicide missions

with cherry blossom close by,

for the trees have been set free,

bloom for the common man along open streets

and in sheltered gardens, no longer hidden

behind secret gates for Imperial eyes only,

or to gird the death-wish within a young soldier.

Rose Frankcombe © September, 2013

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A tiny mosquito shelters under the Japanese cherry blossom petals. Image: Rose Frankcombe

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