Scatter these blossoms

Winter's over, and for a few brief weeks, the fruit trees - cherries, peaches, apples, apricots - are in furious bloom. They're gorgeous, and everywhere, but they don't last. No-one knows this better than Japan's poets, for whom the cherry blossom has long been a symbol of evanescence. “It is just because / they scatter without a trace,” says one ancient anonymous fragment, “that cherry blossoms / delight us so, for in this world / lingering means ugliness.” The eighth century poet Takahashi Mushimaro wrote mostly about local folk tales, and about Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukuha. This poem (roughly 1280 years old this spring) was composed when one of his noble patrons, Lord Fujiwara no Umakai, was sent to be Commander of the Western Sea Circuit - hence the reference to ‘my lords return.’ Charging a god to keep the blossoms on the trees an extra week is the kind of effrontery of which only poets, God bless them, are capable. But the sentiment's in all of us I'm sure when the cherry trees flower. 

Where white clouds rise
Above soaring Tatsuta
And the mountain torrent
Plummets down Ogura’s peak,
Blossoming cherries
Burgeon in great swirls of bloom;
But the mountain is high
And the wind is never still,
And the spring rain
Goes on falling day by day,
So that by now the petals
Have scattered from the upper branches.
O blossoms remaining
On the branches down below,
For a little while
Do no scatter so wildly,
Until my lords return
From the journey where they go,
Grass for their pillow.

This journey of mine
Will not last beyond seven days:
God of Tatsuta,
I charge you, do not let the wind
Scatter these blossoms to the ground.