HOKUSAI'S VIEWS OF MT. FUJI




with poems by


Easley Stephen Jones




 

 

 

 

 

 


Mt. Fuji from Lake Suwa
 

 

THE HUT BENEATH TWO TREES

Lean over, far over, pines, far down.
Droop to my lonely bower.
Keep me from too much beauty,
This earth-and-air too-sweet conspiracy,
The solitary ocean of the sky,
The pale, aerial meadows of the sea.



 


Mt. Fuji from the Offing in Kanagawa
 

 

WAVE AND SHROUD

Into the restless deep
The ghostly barges creep.
   Who are they,
   Lashed with the spray,
Bold as the fearless dead?

   Who are those
   To spurn repose
Safe in an earth-warm bed ?


 


Mt. Fuji from Shichirigaliama
 

 

CLOUD RIVALRY

Over the mountain bar
   Two frail blue heads
     Of cloud aspire.
   They begin to rise
     Coil on whitening coil,
       Circling, brightening, boil.
They topple, and yet higher,
   Dizzily, undismayed,
     Rear their accumulate might
       In giddy escalade
Through thin blue shadow-rafters,
     Through the vague loft
     Into the ethereal home,
     Into the high-windy dome
       Of light.


                  * * *

Soar, fantastic Will! Something akin
   Within me stirs,
     Begins to mount, to drift
       And swim,
Fed on aerial powers,
   Even at a breath,
     A whim,
Building in unimaginable towers.



 


Mt. Fuji from Inume Pass
 

 

OVER THE PASS

Beneath us, in deep fog, the villages sink and hide.
Here only moss rock, the windy mountain side.
Here, while our pack horses strain their nostrils red,
We snatch a glimpse of Fuji, with white light round his head.
Always up we plod, heavily, out of fog, and then
Down another shoulder to the fog we go again.



 


Mt. Fuji from the Totomi Mountains
 

 

COME DOWN, NIESHO

Come down, Nicslio, the morning's old.
The tea is hot, the rice steams in the bowl.
Come down, Niesho, I have called before,
Come skipping from your dizzy perch.
Since dawn looked round the mountain flank
You've sounded, to the steady lurch
   Of shining saws, the tune
   You still play on at noon,
     The rip, rap, ring,
     Rang, ring, rank,
     Swink, swank, swing—
Too noisy to hear anything.

You did not see the dragonish cloud
That coiled from his green forest lair,
The hawk, the bee, that slip and swerve
And haunt your thin blue mountain air.
   Your eye fixed on the line,
   You toil through morning shine
     With rink, rang, ring,
     Ramp, rimp, rap,

     Slip, slap, sling—
Too watchful to see anything.

Niesho, come down. The rice is hot,
The tea sweet-smoking in the pot.



 


Mt. Fuji from the Sumida River in Edo
 

 

END OF DAY

Over the waves the ferryman
Cradles his motley caravan,
Beggar and priest and doctor, all
Cross to the town at evening fall,
Cross to the shadowy city where
The river fades to the empty air.
Weary, gossipy, thoughtful, gay,
Come to the spendthrift end of day.


 


Mt. Fuji from Edo
 

 

TEMPLES

Always the temple needs repair,
Workmen poised in dizzy air,
Gilding, staunching leaky tile,
And passing scurrilous tales the while.
Vain curving roof that seeks the sky
Above the kites that children fly,
Above the fire tower and the cloud,
Above the smokes of cities proud.
Only the mountain and the sun
Ask not the toil of any one.



 


Mt. Fuji m a Summer Storm
 

 

END

Not beauty, but terror, fear,
Moves toward us here.
The white head nods,
The confederate gods
Fork the red tongue.
Their anger is flung
Through the black veil.
The mountain ribs quail.

          
* * *

Devils! Seize
All who commit
Murder, or writ
Verse such as these.

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