“Orchid - breathing
— Matsuo Basho
Translated by Lucien Stryk
"The performance took place on a stage erected in the courtyard, and Her Majesty closed in one part of her veranda for the use of the guests and Court ladies. During the performance I began to feel very drowsy, and eventually fell fast asleep leaning against one of the pillars. I awoke rather suddenly to find that something had been dropped into my mouth, but on investigation I found it was nothing worse than a piece of candy, which I immediately proceeded to eat. On approaching Her Majesty, she asked me how I had enjoyed the candy, and told me not to sleep, but to have a good time like the rest. I never saw Her Majesty in better humor. She played with us just like a young girl, and one could hardly recognize in her the severe Empress Dowager we knew her to be."
― Der Ling. Two Years in the Forbidden City
“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”
― Yasunari Kawabata, Beauty and Sadness
One bright moonlit night, when I was on a journey and staying in a house by a bamboo grove, I awoke to the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. As I lay there, unable to go back to sleep, I wrote the poem,
Night after night I lie awake,
Listening to the rustle of bamboo leaves,
And a strange sadness fills my heart.
From Sarashina Nikki ("As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan" translated by Ivan Morris, published in Penguin Classics 1975)
"Night after night as I lie here listening to the rustling of the bamboo leaves, I am overcome by an indefinable sadness."