Nagoya Writes

May 19, 2008

Hokusai’s Peaks by Chris Gladden

Filed under: Gladden,Issue: 2008,Poetry — usbengoshi @ 12:34 pm

Hokusai
the unrivaled master
of woodblock print lived his
later years in Shinshu
Old Nagano
Enshrined by the lofty ranges
that have always set
wanderers to dream

Each morning post ablutions
and incense laden rounds of
prayer he’d set out and beat
the dusty paths into the
upland abode of the gods

One afternoon as the landscape swept his
wakeful heart he perceived the hills
alive in his breast,  swelling with the breath
to crest on snowy summits in that space
just before exhalation where all stands still.
Breath flowed out and
the mountains curled and
fell thunderously into dust.

He wandered home
the old imperative
inside singing

That evening the peaks
still rolling in his chest
he sat at his bench
raised his brush
and painted waves

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