All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
~Ezra Pound “In a Station of the Metro”
During our visit here in Japan, particularly at the train stations, we are met by a sea of faces — each man, woman and child with a place to go to work or school, a place to return home to, a bed to rest upon. It can be overwhelming to think of the millions who pass through the same place in a day and to wonder at how each person, each hair on their head, is cared for and counted by God.
Yet, like the transience of flowers, we are mortal, each of us, except in our clinging like petals to a wet bough –the word of the Lord, our Creator. Only then we become more than apparition. We bloom where we are planted.
Woman Admiring Plum Blossoms at Night, Suzuki Harunobu, 18th century
(the print that inspired Ezra Pound’s poem)