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Mount Fuji
Waterlilies 29.  View from Lake Suwa in Shinano Province

How Chinese this shack on a crag

So far above the lake we see the ship as a toy.

Hokusai deleted intervening trees,

Bushes, hills--we fall from this rock

Hundreds of feet, past rocks we can't see,

To the water--there's not even a beach.

The sudden sharp drop makes the hill

Seem flat, some point poking out.

Forward and back the hut goes, Escher-like,

As our eye and mind contend--

And right there Hokusai grows two trees,

Splitting the scene in half, tearing

The sky with wretched twisted trunks,

And branches blasted by updrafts.

Approaching the house, the rocks

Look like bamboo huts; perhaps

They intend to toss the house over.


Both sides of the lake exist as splotches,

Undefined, nearly as flat as this white lake.

Bravura in annihilating people,

Hokusai explodes the near, stills the far,

And omits the in-between; nervous,

Fogless, he turns this chaste scene

Into one big erratic path leading

To the horizon blue of hills, and, oh yes,

As casually as a magician revealing a coin,

That one recognizable bump, Mount Fuji.

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