Waiting for Toshiro
Three plum blossom seasons have come and gone, but still he does not return.
My seven silk dresses, in colors of dawn and sunset and sky, are carefully folded with packets of fragrance. My silver combs have bathed in the light of forty full moons. My lustrous black hair, still loose and free, is more than ready for the marriage knot.
My father says how long will you wait for him. I say forever. My mother weeps. The servants lower their eyes when I enter a room. Perhaps there is witchcraft here, they whisper. Her suitor brought the young pony, released the white dove, sang the ancient ballad, but still she sleeps alone. I watch them watching me, all of us wondering, where is my Toshiro?
Every day I go to the temple, asking for a sign. Every day I add another crimson blossom to the grey and black branch of my painting. Every day I read the poems he slipped under my door.
Lonely pale moon,
Encircle my lady
With plum blossom blankets.
Plum blossom, come,
Make us a fragrant bed-
My lady lies waiting.
Do not despair-
Snow-covered plum blossoms
Sing of my return!
How long will you wait, my father asks, scowling. Forever and forever, I say. My voice is calm. My brow is clear. Forever and forever.
Listen! Is that the sound of hoof beats? Could it be my Toshiro, just outside the wooden gate?