THE MORNING FANCY
I know you ghost of some lone, delicate hour,
Long-gone but unforg[o]t,
Wherein I had for guerden and dower,
That one thing I have not."
It was a white lilac that inspired the lady to write the
lines—yes, the lilac tree. Shall I plant it in my garden,
although I have no particular faith in flowers in a Japanese
garden?" We moderns have only flowers, but not gardens," I
often said; and I even went on to declare that we must
protest against such a state of things. However, I should be
glad to have one or two lilacs, not in the garden, but
somewhere beyond my sight, their old perfumes sailing
towards me over the grayness.
IT should begin with the opening of the shoji
here. I pushed them apart. I should see the lotus bud of Fuji, singing the "
swan-like rhapsody of dying night," from my garden, if it were a Japanese
fiction. written by a foreigner; I do not see it from here. Never mind! I can be
pretty well off without seeing it this morning. Thank God, I have even a quite
comfortable peace. So I opened my garden Shoji.
I went straight into dream from the reading of a book of poem by a certain
lady, last night; during the whole night my mind was touched by the perfumes
down a certain lane, now and then deliciously startled by a phantom that came
back from a forgotten shade; and I am still dreaming this morning. I asked my
servant to burn the incense which softly began to flap towards me as a tiny,
pearl-winged butterfly tantalising many flowers. The incense tantalised my soul
of fancy; my fancy grew irritated, and presently mad; it tried to chase it away
again and again. May it not be the gray-robed ghost of something forgotten
haunting my memory ? [<152]
As I said, I opened the shoji apart and sat on the verandah,
sipping tea; from the cup my soul of fancy drank the
youthfulness and love of these early summer days when every
tree has changed its crimson-sleeved flower dress to a green
coat. I always thought that green is a symbol of, youth, and
also of a maturing love. So this early Summer is more to my
heart than Spring. It is with these summer days that the
breeze can spread its musical wings freely. O [<153] breeze
terribly cursed by us and Spring in April-poor musician in
air. Play on now, we welcome you really from our hearts! I
am perfectly comfortable this morning. A moment ago I
resolved that I would stop writing books; I would convert
myself into a reader,—Well that is to say, when I have
time. And this morning I am extremely happy in a sort of
dream on this verandah. I looked upon the sky, and found a
few birds; my own soul followed after them. The sun began to
cast a strong fight.
"To-day my soulls a dragon-fly."
The world a awaying reed."
I thought presently about garden-making and now declared
that the garden had nothing to do with nature, or not much.
Those people are silly, I thought, who think that they can
make a garden with a few scraps of what is vaguely called
Nature, closed in with a wall or fence. Oh, no! There must
be primarily the art of man; veil or clothe it with the
breath of nature; let us read the art of man as well as that
of Nature,—the unmistakable suggestion of humanity under
the solitary breath of Nature. [<154] And my ideal garden
should be silent. I am sure you will regard the voice as a
piece of vulgarity when you are acquainted with the
sweetness of silence. So a few trees I will have in my
garden. But there must be a somewhat fantastic shape of
stone under any circumstances. And one stone lantern,
perhaps? The garden must be a poetry whose voice is
suggestion or memory itself ; and I will try to gather there
the meaning fit for my own fancy. But when shall I have my
ideal Japanese garden?—Oh, my garden dark-robed and silent
as a Buddha priest.