Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the light leaf scatters in the wind



one evening when the crimson carpet was ruffled by a gusty wind, she filled a little box with red leaves from different trees and sent it to murasaki. as messenger she chose one of the little girls who waited upon her. the child, a well-grown, confident little thing, came tripping across the humped wooden bridge that led from the empress’s apartments with the utmost unconcern. pleased though murasaki was to receive this prompt mark of friendship, she could for a while do nothing but gaze with delight at the messenger’s appearance, and she quite forgot to be resentful, as some in her place would have been, that an older and more dignified messenger had not been entrusted with the empress’s gift. the child wore a silk shirt, yellow outside and lined with green. her mantle was of brown gauze. she was used to running about on messages in the palace, had that absolute faultlessness of turn-out and bearing which seems never to be found elsewhere, and was far from being over-awed at finding herself in the presence of such a person as lady murasaki. attached to the box was the poem: “though yours be a garden where only springtime is of price, suffer it that from my house autumn should blow a crimson leaf into your hand.” it was amusing to see how while murasaki read the missive, her ladies crowded round the little messenger and plied her with refreshments and caresses. for answer, murasaki placed in the lid of the box a carpet of moss and on it laid a very little toy rock. then she wrote on a strip of paper tied to a sprig of five-pointed pine: “the light leaf scatters in the wind, and of the vaunted spring no tinge is left us, save where the pine-tree grips its ledge of stone.

excerpted from lady murasaki's "the tale of genji"

20 comments:

Steven Anthony said...

beautiful imagry...

Rachel Fenton said...

I like the last line especially today.

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

what a lovely surprise as I am reading the Tale of Murasaki which is written by Liza Dalby. I have only a few pages to go and then will begin on Genji.

happy days

steven said...

delwyn tatton!!! that's the loveliest surprise of the day!! to see you here ....... a nice for me to provide a smaple of what is next in your reading life. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

thankyou steven and rachel . . . . steven

Golden West said...

Quite lovely, Steven.

Jenny Stevning said...

I read this now, early Tuesday morning. Last night, just before bed, I was playing with a bright, red leaf I found on my walk home from the gym. What is it about those leaves?

Barry said...

That was a beautifully written and very thoughtful piece, Steven. I enjoyed it and the photograph.

ellen abbott said...

ooo, I like this.

Calli said...

I had a very dear friend of mine recommend this very book to me. I have yet to get my hands on a copy, but will have to now.

Your blog's content and aesthetics are really wonderful.

Thank you~I'll be back~
Calli

Reya Mellicker said...

Reading this was truly magical; I felt like I went somewhere very far away. Wow. Thanks, Steven!

steven said...

golden west i found it quite lovely to re-read it on my return home tonight as well. it reminds me of all that i love. perhaps even why! steven

steven said...

jenny the coloured leaves - hmmmm i can't tell you what they mean to you. i wouldn't. but to my own eyes- the two on my head and the one in my heart - they mean beauty, change, tolerance, celebration, and a very visible reminder to me to value the very small, the very simple, the signs of processes that carry on. it snowed last night, so i rode through the snow to school. it was beautiful to see. my daughter woke me to tell me there was snow on the ground - my grade eight daughter! i'm so blessed! steven

steven said...

barry thankyou. digging into the past and sharing the treasures tucked away just beneath the surface of history is a really satisfying habit i've developed. i'm so glad that my readers also really value those treasures. steven

steven said...

hello ellen, the tale of genji is one you can dive wayyyy inside if you've got the space and the time to let every distraction leave. it's an entire world. steven

steven said...

hello calli and thanks so much for visiting here and for your thoughtful comments. get the book and gift yourself small periods of time to dive into it. the rewards are really rich and worthwhile. steven

Liza said...

I love the way this opens. Crimson carpet...wow!
"then she wrote on a strip of paper tied to a sprig of five-pointed pine"
There is something about that. Plus I like saying five-pointed pine, lol!
Thanks for sharing.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Just beautiful - and I loved reading your comment about the snow and your daughter waking you. We awoke to snow one morning in Nebraska last week. So beautiful! We hardly get to see that in Texas.

steven said...

boomer, i was in nebraska years ago en route to working ona ranch in mankato kansas. i loved the land. it felt so good. i often wondered what it was like there in winter. steven

Seth said...

gorgeous image!