Plums and Orange Blossoms

Alexander Volenski

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Volenski's page: Home site of all pages, books, tapes.
Judee's page: Poetry by a woman.
Silk: Some cosmic poetry.
MountRainier: Home site of a nature book in 8-chapters.
Wafting: A Song for Science...excerpt from Love Verse 96.
Alexander the Great: A 'variation expression' of Alexander.
Miss Love: The meadows of Miss Love.
Henry Miller: Essay on the author...quotes and comments.
The Vesuvian: A little piece of Italy.
UFO's: The visionary and para-normal realms.
Overtures: A few lines for the musically inclined...Bach.
Ewe's Milk: Another piece on Mount Vesuvius.
Bruce Chatwin: An Essay on the author...excerpts/review.
Empathic Expressions: Home site of the series, world mythology and ancient legends.
Wilderness Expressions: Home site of the series, of the Pacific Northwest.
Opalescing the Moon: Excerpt from LoveVerse96.
Elizabeth Browning & Percy Shelley: Essay from LoveVerse96, a duet in poetry.

Expressions of Genji

Review: The Tale of Genji, by Lady Murasaki Shikibu, Japan, 1000AD;
a novel in 6-parts, translated from Japanese by Arthur Waley;
first Modern Library Giant Edition, 1960; Random House, Inc..

Comments and generated poems(C)1998 A. Alexander Volenski
Unedited Excerpts

The Tale of Genji, a novel considered to be the first full-novel ever
recorded in the world.

Lady Murasaki, court lady who was the author of the 'Genji mongatari'
(The Tale of Genji), said to be the greatest work of Japanese
literature.  Her real name is unknown, it is perhaps that she 
acquired the name Murasaki from the leading feminine character and
wife of Genji in the novel; she kept a diary between 1007-1010AD.

The novel is long and extremely complex, yet it has a style in
reading and description which is in everyday expression.  It also
gives detailed glimpses into the court of Japan, and glances into
China, and Religions of the world.

Most of the story is about Prince Genji and the women in his life;
their sensuality's, sensitivities, and shared love.  Here, intimate
love emotions between a man and woman, are refracted by the beauties
of nature (metaphorically) with a kind of 'hidden code' as well, all
mirrored with a human 'inner' emotional-awareness expression.  The
authoress even reaches into an area between life and death, and the
realms of the spirit, also she shows the struggles with the 'magical',
and of 'possession' by a Spirit; the supernatural region itself is
described with pure imagery, though only momentary, yet it is there.

This story is exceptional, The Tale of Genji I would say far exceeds
anything written on this subject in Western Literature.  Murasaki, in
simple/complexities describes in more detail the true depth of 
emotional ties which a person has to self, and also the world in
which they reside.  The often mystical human passions, are linked in
parallel to nature, the realms of the land-beyond, and also the 
'cosmic link'; Murasaki definitely, a woman with knowledge, awareness,
and understanding of the immortal aspects.

The woman is in touch with herself, with the surrounding world, and
most important the spiritual; she perceives the false-image of death,
and she is aware of death's illusions, and the problems created
outside this novel by powerfully blind men and women who have lost
sight of Love.

 The Royal Lady of the Moon--
 of the first ones,
 and the fisherman and his daughter
 saw the moon,
 its color deep red,
 and they sighed within,
 of what--
 it signified.

One must realize that The Tale of Genji is large, it is massive, and
covers not only the entire life of a Prince, but also weaves the 
highest intellictual communications.  Some expression-lines which were
generated from The Tale of Genji are here within this poetical
presentation; something for this time to that time, and I pray
Lady Murasaki will not be displeased with these efforts,
a thousand years later.

So here to begin.

From the Field of Reeds,
to the High Plains of Heaven,
the winds do blow,
and from its journey the moon
shall reach a clearer sky.

At the sound of the wind
that blows the cold dew,
my heart goes out to the tender flower stem.

And though with all my heart
I tried to leave it behind me,
never for a moment has it left me--
the fair face of that mountain flower.

Like tears of the heart,
the dewdrops on the grass fall
if they are touched,
and within it all,
one knows that the glittering hailstones melt
if gathered in the hand.

And in their faith and innocence,
the wild-geese do fly
as we acknowledge that, unafraid,
the flocks explore the shifting highways
of the air--
all singing as they travel along,

 "I have no fear
  but that my leader should outwing me
  in the empty sky."

In all of this the mystery is there,
the wonder also,
and as the dear sweet moon continues too,
a wonder--how shall it be?

The Sacred Tree touched my door-step,
and beyond
the grass of the lawn glowed white silver
with new snow.

We must not be self-centered in conceit,
and realize that though
the poor man's hedge grows tattered,
we must not fail sometimes
to look with kindness upon the Child-flower,
that grows so sweetly there.

An altered and a lonely man
seems to this my wilderness sojourn.
But still unchanged the wind blows music
through the trees.

I, that am a visitor here,
scarce know the way from valley to valley;
only this crystal spring of the forest 
remembers still and meditates
the ancient secrets of this land.

There are times that I feel a stranger
to the breath and touch which I have,
oh weary traveler,
finding small converse to comfort
as sweet sad moon does whisper.

Such is the plight where tears whisper too,
like two friends alone
in the vastness of the sky.

Far off now is the dear companion
of my happier days, and seems,
none are here who comprehend
the broken language of my song.

Though one be born alone in wisdom--
upon the air her sweet emotions fair,
her gifts
of sorrows tear tremble the heart,
yet Joy too, there,
proceeds upon waves telling.

Thus does her whisper pray succeed,
wisdom warm and full--
how else could tears appear,
roll and tumble too
to flower bloom;
in nourishment alone
the petals find their search.

Wisdom's great hall--records tall,
large and small, and of all colors and shapes,
some locked away hidden
like a flower in a seed is hidden;
yet dewdrop opens.

O mist,
I long to follow with my eyes
the road you pass upon,
for I know how swiftly locks rust
and hinges stiffen,
on doors that close behind us.

And on doors that close behind us,
blushing love;
only memory pleads, will wisdom listen?

Wisdom pure emotion;
memory has a way to touch--

O mist I still long to follow with my eyes
the wafting way you glide upon,
for I know the decisiveness of where I am--
heavens constant bewilderment.

Yes, a dew drop tear
within her eyes kissed mine with tears.

How else would I a man be here?


Because of all the stars
that wreathe the night sky,
I know not which ascended too--
thus, upon that cosmic starry realm,
from pole to pole I gaze with love.

And though I know Paradise be there,
still in my heart--
to enter, I also know
that I cannot enter if still
earthly things are on my mind.

O immortal realm so gleaming
from where loves glance always seems,
we who long have sworn that death alone
should part us,
must suffer life for once--
to cancel all our vows;
how have we thus become?


A small plinking stream
flows into an Ancient pond,
a frog
leaps into the sound of water.

On shoots of nearby reeds
a spiders web is suspended,
smooth symphonic silk.

Sudden breeze fluffs that lace,
gossamer strings intrigue,
a motion tingle song.

The spider listens,
the frog sighs,
as wind chimes calm
their spirit moment call.

Then two birds embracing
wing in wing,
fly-by singing,
all is clever.

The moon above endless quest
is present too,
her quiet journey light
to ever reach a clearer sky.


Note: here are a few excerpts from the book, The Tale of Genji, just
some random selections for fun...yet one must realize that the entire
novel is more than fun, for it constantly is dealing with love, the
universal design and link to our immortal self...and though love often
appears to be fun, still one realizes that struggles are often present
too...and one must truly understand that,
"within the heart one finds peace when love is there..."
and of course within that love are many emotional quivers too...
some sad, some just fun, some very pleasurable to have...

And to begin:

"for as long as the cherry-blossoms remain unscattered upon the shore
of Onoe, where wild storms blow - so long have you till now been
constant!"  'For my part, I am very uneasy about the matter.'

"Was it the shadows in the mountain well that told you my purpose was
but a jest?'  To which she answered, 'Some perhaps that have drawn in
that well now bitterly repent.  Can the shadows tell me if again it
will be so?'

"Tis you, you only who have loitered among the shallow pools: while I
till all my limbs were drenched have battled through the thickets of
love's dark track."  And he (Genji) ended with the words: 'Had but a
ray of comfort lighted the troubles of this house, I should myself
have been the bearer of this note.'

Yet there was not one person among those about her with whom she could
bring herself to discuss such things, and all this pent-up misery
seemed only to increase the strange process of dissolution which had
begun to attack her mind.

'Though I wander in strange lands and far away, in this mirror let me
leave my image, that it may never quit your side.'  (She responds),
'That, ye, even so little as that, would comfort me, if indeed this
mirror might hold the image of your distant face.'

Genji too alighted from his horse and turning his face towards the
Shrine repeated this parting poem: 'Thou who art called the Righter
of Wrongs, to Thee I leave it to clear the name that stays behind me,
now that I am driven from the fleeting haunts of men.'

With this letter was the poem: 'How pleasantly the shadow of the
laurel-tree must fall upon the waters in the village beyond the 

"As the fisher's flare that follows close astern, so in those days
and in these has misery clung to my tossing bark, and followed me
from home to home."  'My love,' he answered, 'is like the secret
flame that burns brightly because it is hidden from sight; yours is
like the fisherman's torch, that flares up in the wind and presently
is spent.  No, no; you are right,' he said after a pause; 'life
(yours and mine alike) is indeed a wretched business.'


So, I pause here for awhile...
"and may the moon,
silver candle of the Earth,
bring us all into a brighter day."

And to Lady Murasaki I bow my head and say,
"may the snow sprinkled upon the brow, be freshly soothing,
as we both dance, the dance of love,
and may the mist open too, that doors be found--
that we may soar the open way."