Blossoms that Scatter

Blossoms that Scatter

Cherries in bloom that the air raid spread
blue sky above them fallen petals jumbled

for a background the gutted ruins of reality
and the pitiful people who cannot look up to them

bitter are their long wanderings
the road of parent and child

amid the waves of little shacks, flowers in bloom
cherry blossoms – is theirs the hue of dawn?

Ah, there is a simile in this existence
men of power and men of peace

“blossoms that scatter, blossoms that remain
to become blossoms that scatter” – so sings a man

blossoms of youth, how many million –
why must they scatter? Why must they scatter?

In distant southern seas, ill fated cherries
full bloom not yet on them, their branches are in pain

And my friends remaining, their hearts, before we know it,
wounded by the loss of the world of the ideal

Are all things impermanent? Are they eternal?
without even knowing, must we scatter?

Blossoms that scatter, blossoms that remain,
bloom forever, in spring send out your fragrance on the storm!

Songs From My Heart, poems and photographs by Daisaku Ikeda
Translated by Burton Watson

Note:
In April 1943, when the poet was seventeen, Tokyo’s Ota Ward, where the poet was working in an ironworks, was heavily damaged in an air raid. The poem was composed when the poet observed the chwerries blooming among the charred ruins of a temple in the area.