Wind Through Green Leaves Aoarashi

Imagine right now standing under a tree and hearing the wind rustling through its leaves. If you enjoy this vision, I would like to share a Japanese poem with you.

Wind blowing through green leaves
I see a shrine
And I pray

Aoarashi Jinja ga atta node Ogamu

Japanese haiku are full of seasonal words, which serve as a guide to the reader. For instance, this charming poem by Ikeda Sumiko (池田澄子, born in 1936) contains the word aoarashi.  It means wind blowing through green leaves and it’s a seasonal word for the fifth month.

I’ve selected three more poems by Ikeda Sumiko, which despite not being seasonal for May show the way modern haiku can still capture subtle nuances and reveal a whole universe of feelings and thoughts.

I love living the beginning of winter resembling spring.

In their usual positions my husband the tea canister the gecko.

Every time I wake up my bed I see is older.

If you would like to read more about my interest in Japanese poetry and its parallels with fragrances and other types of art, please take a look at my article called The World in a Haiku.

Of course, if you have favorite poems from around the world, please share them. Finding a poem that speaks to you is like a gift–I tend to memorize a line and savor it throughout the day. These days when reading the news can be a traumatic experience, such small things help a lot.

Poems from Japanese women poets An Anthology by Hiroaki Sato (public library). Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Muriel: <3
    thank you! May 17, 2019 at 8:30am Reply

  • Robin Charles: Thank you for sharing. Always nice to discover.
    Here is my favorite. This is one of the many translation.
    Invitation to the Voyage

    My child, my sister,
    Think of the rapture
    Of living together there!
    Of loving at will,
    Of loving till death,
    In the land that is like you!
    The misty sunlight
    Of those cloudy skies
    Has for my spirit the charms,
    So mysterious,
    Of your treacherous eyes,
    Shining brightly through their tears.

    There all is order and beauty,
    Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

    Gleaming furniture,
    Polished by the years,
    Will ornament our bedroom;
    The rarest flowers
    Mingling their fragrance
    With the faint scent of amber,
    The ornate ceilings,
    The limpid mirrors,
    The oriental splendor,
    All would whisper there
    Secretly to the soul
    In its soft, native language.

    There all is order and beauty,
    Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

    See on the canals
    Those vessels sleeping.
    Their mood is adventurous;
    It’s to satisfy
    Your slightest desire
    That they come from the ends of the earth.
    — The setting suns
    Adorn the fields,
    The canals, the whole city,
    With hyacinth and gold;
    The world falls asleep
    In a warm glow of light.

    There all is order and beauty,
    Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

    — William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954) May 17, 2019 at 10:27am Reply

    • Robin Charles: Sorry the title is: invitation au voyage by Charles Baudelaire. May 17, 2019 at 10:48am Reply

    • Annie: It was a pleasure to read this poem first thing today. I should read The Flowers of Evil. May 18, 2019 at 3:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, this is one of my favorites from the collection! May 18, 2019 at 10:10am Reply

  • Hạnh-Trang: Dear Victoria,

    Thank you for a most lovely blog.
    Since you learned Vietnamese, the following very simple but somewhat hard to translate, though I’m sure you can make it out. It’s an all seasons poem for cloudless minds.

    Đọc Ẩm (Sau cái ly)
    by Nguyễn Bá Trạc

    Những hôm lòng sáng như trời,  
    Tâm hiền như Bụt, miệng cười như hoa,  
    Một mình một ấm nước trà,  
    Ngồi ở trong nhà, với sáu cái ly. May 17, 2019 at 5:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. Reading this poem and I see a sunlit, bright, serene place, and feel content myself. And I’m sitting right now with my (one) cup of tea. 🙂 May 18, 2019 at 10:09am Reply

  • Annie: This is just beautiful! May 18, 2019 at 3:04am Reply

  • Annie: I find this poem moving.
    Banish Air from Air
    BY Emily Dickinson
    Banish Air from Air –
    Divide Light if you dare –
    They’ll meet
    While Cubes in a Drop
    Or Pellets of Shape
    Fit –
    Films cannot annul
    Odors return whole
    Force Flame
    And with a Blonde push
    Over your impotence
    Flits Steam. May 18, 2019 at 3:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Annie! May 18, 2019 at 10:00am Reply

  • Sylvia: One of my favorites by Mary Oliver:

    At the Edge of the Ocean

    I have heard this music before,
    Saith the body. May 18, 2019 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: How evocative! Thank you so much. May 18, 2019 at 10:50am Reply

  • Aurora: Spring is an endless wonder. If I may I will answer with an haiku I wrote last week for NST inspired by Jean Patou Vacances.
    Mauve and white shower
    Lilacs, sweet heralds of spring
    Their scent in the breeze. May 18, 2019 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Figuier: Like Annie above, I love Dickinson’s brief & dash-punctuated lines, and they do often feel quite haiku-like. My current project is reading my way through the collected ED, one poem or so every few days, and for each writing down a few impressions. It’s a great ‘slow reading’ technique and makes me pay closer attention to the nuances. I also like your idea of memorising a line of poetry to recite throughout the day – I often do this without noticing, although sometimes I end up walking around chanting lines I don’t actually like that much! May 20, 2019 at 6:02am Reply

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