A Vision of Cherry Blossoms—
—or not. Or even, instead, of something darker, fiercely brighter: the tyranny of cherry blossoms exacts its price; they must be looked at, or the emperor may be displeased. We must be reminded that exquisite blossoms— pink, no less—speak of those who appreciate finer things in life. Because her blooms may not be picked, Sakura denies an empire hungry for conquest— —but it is sad, perhaps, that some of us miss the spectacle, lose ourselves in mundane matters, mishaps as when foot-binding starts to come adrift and suddenly the lifting cherry-petals-shifting are not the draw, the gift we thought they were. Our eyes are shut tight as buds against that beauty, and we are sleep-walking into Nagasaki, Hiroshima, where a terrible beauty will be born: one we cannot look at.
A published novelist between 1984 and 1996 in North America, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden (pen-name Elizabeth Gibson), Lizzie Ballagher now writes poetry rather than fiction. Her work has been featured in a variety of magazines and webzines: South-East Walker Magazine, Far East, Nine Muses, Nitrogen House, the Ekphrastic Review and Poetry Space. She lives in southern England, writing a blog at https://lizzieballagherpoetry.wordpress.com/.