HOKUSAI'S VIEWS OF MT. FUJI




with poems by


Easley Stephen Jones



 

 

 



 

 

 


Mt. Fuji from Noborito
 

 

AT THE SHRINE

Do people go to the temple any more?
Oh yes, to dig clams,
Thoughtfully, with bare legs, and kimonos
Rolled up to their hams.

Under the sacred torii, when the tide is out,
They scratch in the sand,
And sell their ware ten sen the dearer—
The holy Shinto brand.



 


Mt. Fuji from Ejiri
 

 

FALL PUBLICATION

Some poet's verse is flying—
Heigh! the wild scurry!—
Published too soon,
The devil's own hurry
Across the rice fields of Ejiri
On the breath of typhoon.

Only write of love
And sign your fair name,
The words are light enough
To leap into fame
And you'll be known to Fuji
   and around and above.

Poet, why fear
Or sigh for a market
Finicky to please ?
The truth is, hark it,
You don't know what a lark it
Is, sowing to the breeze.

Write of love alone
And speak your fair mind
And trust it to a maiden
And the October wind,
And you shall be a household
   word, everywhither blown.



 


Mt. Fuji from Mishima-goe
 

 

CRYPTOMERIA

Jimmu Tenno was a child
When the cryptomeria tree
Sprouted on the mountain wild.

Seven times a hundred years
Sighed thru Emperor Jimmu's grave,
And Prince Yamato drew the sword
In the time of Christ the Lord.

When Yamato scourged Japan
The trunk rose straight and fair to see,
Straight and thicker than a man.

Full six hundred years again
Slept Yamato-take when
Buddhist temples first arose,
Gilded, pert, and grandiose.

Soared the cryptomeria tree
Tall, and taller still to be,
Taller than the masts at sea.


Yet five hundred years declined,
Yoritomo fought and dined
At Kamakura with his crew,
First Shogun of forty-two.

Four more centuries rolled away
(This was gentle Shakespeare's day).
In time of art, and beauty's bloom
The great Ieyasu reared his tomb.

Near three hundred years and came
Hokusai of starry fame.
Scorning Ieyasu's ruin he
Bold-sketched the cryptomeria tree.

Over a thousand tsubo spread,
Night shelters in its cavern-boughs,
The eagle hovers round its head.



 


Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi
 

 

REFLECTIONS

Never be too sure
Which is the false, the true, in any seeming
When beauty hovers by
And shores are lost in dreaming,
Nor whether 'tis sky or sea the mountains bear,
Nor if the boatman sails on glass or air.



 


Mt. Fuji from Koishikawa in Edo
 

 

GEISHA

Yesterday, all white,
And now, half gray.
There's another spot come through-
Another, in earliest day.

Even he cannot be stainless
Like a pale lily shine,
Soils like a silk kimono
After a night with wine.


 


Mt. Fuji from Meguro in Edo
 

 

INFORMATION

Gossip, how goes?
Have you seen any pheasants near?
"Oh yes, sir, three eating rice."
Where? When? Speak quick! Do you hear?
"Goodness, yes. Let me think...
There was rain... then the baby... and Sei
Borrowed the oven ... I remember!
Three of them there eating rice
Four years ago this November.
Our Mito, he managed... he's dead...
Killed, cooked, and ate—very pleasant...
Died from the plague that same winter...
But they were partridge—not pheasant."



 


Mt. Fuji fromTsukudajima in Edo
 

 

SAIL AWAY

Anything that floats
Is a ship to me
To launch the truant fancy
On a shimmering sea.

Sail, sail away
Through sleepy isle and bay,
Trafficking, pleasuring,
Sail, sail away.



 


Mt. Fuji from Umezawa
 

 

FUJI-NO-YAMA

Serene the crest, the silver sheen,
The steep, sky-nibbled contours stand,
Above the wasted gray-and-green,
The fog-tormented lava land.
The paltry ships upon the sea,
The homeless cloud, the driven bird,
The restless wind and tide—but he
To outward pulse has never stirred,
No spring's sweet anguish ever knows,
Serene, serene, in changeless snows.

 

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