Poetic Name (Mei)
Description / source poetry
Mother Earth gives us an abundance of food in Autumn, our last indulgence and last chance to store our sustenance for the coming winter.
‘Minori’ means ‘to ripen’ or ‘ripening’. ‘Minori no aki’ (minori = ripen, aki = autumn) means the ‘harvest season’.
Even in the shadows of the Autumn morning, the dew drops glisten with a silver glow. When the light reaches and fills the droplets, a spectacle of fleeting beauty unfolds, until the dew fades to nothing.
Autumn takes us from the polarities of Summer to Winter. Cloud and rain-threaded days increase in the deepening Autumn. After a string of glorious Autumn days, a
grey change reminds us that we truly celebrate ‘glorious’ on top of an acceptance of gloom.
My Companion the Moon
Tsuki no Tomo
My companion the moon
川上と / Kawakami to
この川下や / Kono kawashimo ya
月の友 / Tsuki no tomo
On an Autumn morning one wakes to find the grass, trees and shrubs covered with so much dew that one assumes there has been rain during the night. But upon looking at the roads and concrete, there are no puddles or areas of damp to confirm this assumption. A particularly heavy covering of dew is called ‘tsuyu-shigure’ or ‘dew downpour’, a play on the word ‘shigure’ which denotes a short, heavy burst of rain.
Momiji no Nishiki
On this journey
I have no streamers made of silk to offer up.
Gods, if it pleases you,
may you take instead this beautiful brocade
of Mt. Tamuke's autumn colors
このたびは / Kono tabi wa
ぬさもとりあへず / nusa mo tori-aezu
手向山 / tamuke-yama
紅葉の錦 / momiji no nishiki
神のまにまに / kami no mani-mani
Scarlet, Amber & Gold Rain
The autumn leaves are glowing in a spectrum of scarlet, amber and gold. Along comes a strong puff of wind, coaxing the fiery leaves from their branches to create a brief shower of scarlet rain for those walking below. ‘Shigure’ denotes a short, heavy burst of rain. Used together with ‘ochiba’ or ‘falling autumn leaves’, ‘ochiba-shigure’ gives poetry to this fleeting autumn scene.
Hermitage in the Leaves
Ha no an
The leaves pile on the thatched roof and small garden surrounding the mountain hermitage. The little hut for tea and zen practice seems to float in a sea of
Moon and starry night
The high, far-reaching-firmament of a clear Autumn sky is taken over by a soaring black night canopy. The moon glows in her glory and stars map our dreams.
Our dreams can become reality. They must be high, elevated, above the mundane. A dream is signified by a star, and the star is something that glimmers in the night. It's a source of light in the darkness.
'Shita' = under; 'Ha' = leaf
shiratsuyu mo shigure mo itaku Moruyama wa shitaba nokorazu irozuki ni keri
The white dewfall and passing showers have soaked Mt Moruyama through,
every single under-leaf has been dyed with autumn colour
- Ki no Tsurayuki (872–945), Kokin-shū #260
kono nenuru yo no ma ni aki wa kinikerashi asake no kaze no kinō ni mo ninu
While I slept
In the space of one night, Autumn
Has come, it seems:
Are not those of yesterday
- Fujiwara no Suemichi, Shin-Kokin-shū Book #4
Nami no Hana
'Nami' = wave; 'hana' = flower.
kusa mo ki mo iro kaware domo watatū umi no nami no hana ni zo nami no
Though both trees and thickets have lost their hues,
No autumn comes to the ocean and its forever flowering waves
- Funya no Yasuhide (?-885), Kokin-shū #250