"Ume no hana
Kokoromoshinoni kimi wo shizo omou"
by Okimi Ichihara
Plum blossom is a flower appreciated by Japanese aristocracy since the ancient times and appears in 119 poems of the "Manyoshu - Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves".
It is often chanted with bush warblers and snow. The poem above expresses through plum blossoms "Ichihara Okimi (Empress of eighth century)"''s respect and yearning for "Nakatomi no Kiyomaro (a court noble / poet).
"Even far apart, with the sweet-smelling plum blossoms, my heart is longing for you."
The Japanese expression "Kaguwashimi tookedomo", meaning "smells beautifully even far apart" explains the empress delicate modesty and shows her awe and respect to her beloved one.
The white plum gives me the image of a dignified young lady of a samurai family. Especially elegant and charming when quietly starting to bloom in the cold.
In early spring when bitter cold still remains, one little flower opens, then another. It is one of our favorite delightful seasons. A brief moment of warm weather soon overtaken by winter cold again, cold snow gently covering the long stamens. Repeating hope and despair, but knowing spring is gradually coming its way, thus we know how to wait in the present.
This kind of feeling has grown within the four variable seasons of this country, and as I grow old I am starting to understand that it is a particular mental culture original of Japan.