Bebe Taian: Hakuro: White Dew

September 7, 2012

Hakuro: White Dew

'White dew'.

When the sun glows through the dew on leaves, it turns a brilliant white, glowing with light. Cooler months are coming, along with wet snow. The brilliant oranges and reds of Autumn are beginning to appear, and hagi (bush clover) is growing everywhere now.

Hakuro' can also be referred to as 'shiratsuyu', literally, white dew. You can expect to see poetic references to these words at this time of year. Hagi, or bush clover, by the way, is also often a poetic reference to a woman. References to dew are often commentary on the short, fleeting nature of life. A famous Basho poem from approximately the 1690s has been interpreted to mean anything between the sacred and profane- either a deeply religious work, or a highly erotic one. Which one is sacred, that's your call.

しら露もこぼさぬ萩のうねり哉 芭蕉

Shiratsuyu mo kobosanu hagi no uneri kana.

White dew never falls from hagi, even when it sways.

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