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Mount Fuji
Waterlilies 15.  View fromTago Beach in Ejiri on the Tokaido Road

Out of white nothing, the black waves

Roil, become blue, and rock the long boat,

Shaking the steersman on the bow--giddily

He hops, to keep his balance, hoping for a forward surge.


Behind him, four men labor at hinged oars,

Creaking, making wood groan against seam,

But current curses, runs them back toward Tago.


Suddenly sea shifts; another boat comes up behind,

Lunging almost into the stern. The others drift away.


The sand lies bare, and men

Run over it, chasing clams before they dive,

Digging at the bubbles, catching

The squirming, pouting, spitting half-open shell

Before it reaches the soupy sand,

And swims away. Raking, shoveling,

Lurching with shoulder poles, the peasants

Haul away enough to eat for a week--


Dwarfing them, in one sweep of lava we have the largest wave,

The long dark blue slope and its white cap,

Cresting over these tiny hats, the narrow beach, and the clams.

Perhaps the boat men are poling away,

Escaping like Pliny from Mount Vesuvius, when it blew.


Yellow fog, in abstract fingers, covers up

The middle distance, blocking our view

Of the ordinary transition--condensing miles,

Removing the pulsating hills, to stress

This immense curve, pushing up,

This quiet sea, Mount Fuji.

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Copyright 1998-1999 Jonathan Price, The Communication Circle
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