Today I'll write about a waka(和歌) written by Saigyo Hoshi(西行法師).
Waka is the most popular and traditional Japanese short verse. (http://goo.gl/8ewy5) Saigyo Hoshi is a famous Kajin(歌人), waka poet. He was born as a member of the aristocrats in 1118, but then he deserted his status and became a Buddhist monk. (http://goo.gl/JH8fn)
He composed a waka about cherry blossoms.
I can't translate Japanese poetry into English at all, but at least I'll try to explain its meaning.
Negawakuba hana no shita nite haru shinan sono Kisaragi no Mochizuki no koro
I hope I will die under a cherry tree in full bloom in Kisaragi(如月), the second month in the lunar calendar, under a full moon, when Buddha was born.
I imaged such a story as follows, when I read this waka.
Motojiro Kajii, an author of modern Japanese literature (http://goo.gl/bH2Ah), wrote the short story "Under the Cherry Tree" (http://goo.gl/mf0y) inspired by this Saigyo's waka. If you are interested in this journal, I recommend trying to read this story.
An old and nameless monk was wandering as a mendicant. His clothes became all frayed because of his long pilgrimage.
He found a big cherry tree in full bloom at the end of some village. He sat under the cherry tree and took a rest for his weary feet.
It became evening, and he had to find a place to sleep this night. But he didn't even have enough energy to stand up. When he sat under the cherry tree, he was quite comfortable for some reason. He decided to keep sitting under the cherry tree all night long.
He closed his eyes, and fell into a sleep. When he woke up, it was already dark.
There were full cherry blossoms lit by the light of a full moon around him. He saw cherry blossoms scattering like snow.
Next morning someone, who lived in this village, found an old monk sleeping under the cherry tree. When he tried to wake him up, he found he was not breathing.
He buried this monk under the cherry tree. His grave was covered with cherry blossoms.
His body decayed in the earth. The cherry tree absorbed the nutrition from his decayed body, and then in next spring the cherry blossoms were more beautiful.