I am pleased to announce that Emiko Miyashita and I have a waka (tanka) translation appearing on the back of a U.S. postage stamp, in an edition of 100,000,000 copies, that will be released on March 24, 2012 (a second printing of an additional 50,000,000 stamps was ordered in early April, making this one of the best-selling U.S. postage stamps in decades). You can read more about the stamp at the United States Postal Service website. The translation, shared below, is from our 2008 artbook, 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (PIE Books, Tokyo). This “forever” stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C. For additional images, see also Cherry Blossom Stamp.
hisakata no hikari nodokeki harunohi ni shizugokoro naku hana no chiruran
Ki no Tomonori (c.850–c.904)
the light filling the air
is so mild this spring day
only the cherry blossoms
keep falling in haste—
why is that so?
Translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch