Haiku About Cherry Blossoms

Elizabeth Bastos

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Bastos has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and writes at her blog 19th-Century Lady Naturalist. Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethbastos

We need some haiku about cherry blossoms right now to keep us as hopeful. As Percy Bysshe Shelley famously wrote, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” but my response is to this charming #earthoptimism is to raise a cautious eyebrow, Shelley? Are you certain, Shelley? Please be sure.

I am new to the Washington, D.C. area and one of the reasons I was excited about the move was the sakura. 

According to The Smithsonian’s article “Significance of Sakura: Cherry Blossom Traditions in Japan”, “Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. Their life is very short. After their beauty peaks around two weeks, the blossoms start to fall.”

“During this season in Japan, people like to have cherry blossom parties with colleagues, friends, and family. A cherry blossom makes people merry. They enjoy eating, drinking, and barbecuing underneath the cherry blossoms. We call this custom hanami. Hanami literally means ‘watching blossoms,’ and the tradition can be traced back at least a thousand years.”


Haiku About Cherry Blossoms

The recent weather weirding polar vortex(es) have been like cold hands down my back despite my What Will Little Bear Wear? getup of  heavy wool toggle coat, scarf, hat, and snow-pants.

The earliest spring flowers the snowdrops still have their heads bent– it’s late winter, but I want Spring and some frothy pink full blown flowery literary gems by the greats Basho, Buson, and Issa. Bonus: many of these  poems are available by app, as “poetry might be the perfect literature form for the smartphone.

For instance this by Basho:

A cloud of cherry blossoms;
The temple bell,-
Is it Ueno, is it Asakusa?

Or this, by Buson:

Drinking up the clouds
it spews out cherry blossoms –
Yoshino Mountain.

I even tried writing my own cherry blossom haiku. How hard can it be to write smartphone literature? Let’s just say that is it harder than it looks, and leave it at that.

What I came up with is: Blossoming cherry/ I want to write a haiku/about your flowers.