japonisme: roses in december

12 December 2009

roses in december

(One of Vera's first hits -- the beguiling girlishness in her voice is a charming contrast to her indomitable War performances.)

(George Jessel, Herbert Magidson, Ben Oakland, 1937.)

Roses in December, for you.
Shall I take the stars from the blue?
Or would you like the moon upon a platter?
It doesn't matter. What can I do, for you?

If you'd like the spring in the fall,
It would be no trouble at all.
Give me your love and I can make the most impossible things come true:
Blue shadows never, sunshine forever,
Roses in December for you.

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December"
-- James M. Barrie 1


yamabuki ni ômiyabito no usugi kana

in yellow roses
a great courtier's
thin kimono


furusato ya yoru mo sawa[ru]
mo bara no hana

the closer I get
to my village, the more pain...
wild roses

In a pre- script to this haiku Issa reports that he entered his home village on the morning of Fifth Month, 19th day, 1810. First, he paid his respects at his father's gravesite, and then he met with the village headman.

While the content of their meeting is not revealed, it plainly had to do with the matter of the poet's inheritance that his stepmother and half brother had withheld from him for years.

He goes on to write, tersely, "After seeing the village elder, entered my house. As I expected they offered me not even a cup of tea so I left there soon." In another text dated that same year, he recopies this "wild roses" haiku and signs it, mamako issa: "Issa the Stepchild."

See Issa zenshû (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79) 3.61; 1.424. Shinji Ogawa assisted with the above translation. 2

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Blogger belvedere beads said...

Vera Lynn? I adore Vera Lynn, I think I will have to get the Victrola and the 78's out today.

27 December, 2009 09:04  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

now how often does that happen??! wonderful!

27 December, 2009 13:05  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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