Pear blossoms

"The blossom of the pear tree is quite awful. It should be spurned and on no account ever be attatched to a letter. From leaf to bloom, its lack of color reminds one of a plain woman, utterly charmless. Yes, this is what we usually think of the pear blossom. Yet, knowing that the Chinese admire it, I decided to take a close look at one, and found that the edges of the petals were tinged ever so faintly. And I recalled the Chinese poem about the great beauty Yang Guifei, who, from exile, greeted the emperor's messenger in tears. The poet likened her face to a branch of pear blossoms sprinkled with rain. Then I realized that indeed the pear blossom is a splendid flower after all."

Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book

Quoted from: L. Dalby: East Wind melts the Ice, London 2007, 31.

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