09 November 2014

Ki no Tsurayuki

'Poetry in Japan begins with the human heart as its seed and myriad words as its leaves. It arises with when people are inspired by what they see and hear to give voice to the feelings that come forth from the multitude of events in their lives. The singing of warblers in the blossoms, the voices of frogs in the ponds, these all teach us that every creature on earth sings. It is this song that effortlessly moves heaven and earth, evokes emotions from the invisible gods and spirits, harmonizes the relations of men and women, and makes serene the hearts of brave warriors.'

from the introduction to the KokinshÅ«, an anthology containing twenty books of poetry (A.D. 915 -920).

  Its color fading
with no outward sign
  in this world-
the flower
of the human heart.

Ono no Komachi (A.D. 834 - 880).

I wonder why so much celebrated 'avant-garde'  'cutting-edge' Western art of our time seems to mock and denigrate Beauty? Would it not be possible instead, to shock people by Beauty in the world instead of its horrors? I do not speak of a sentimentalization in front of Nature (of which we are also inundated) but of finding a way through to Beauty using metaphor like so many Japanese poets and artists. How can we (in the West) learn to show reverence for Nature instead of hating it and by doing it without sentimentalism?

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