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Mount Fuji
Waterlilies 33.  View from Shichirigahama Beach in Sagami Province

Inside the third hut she boils snow for tea,

Pulling tight the padded winter kimono,

Running her free hand over the coals.

Wind lifts up through the floorboards,

Ruffling the double tatami.

They ate the last fish yesterday,

And the boat's still not fixed.

Up on the hill, his toes clenching,

Hokusai sees underneath the thatch

To the wooden dipper she uses,

And the black pot. He knows

The silence that snow imposes--

Leveling the beach, making the road

Impassable, beyond the islands.


Withdrawing, his vision changes,

Flecking the wood with the same moves,

He makes a thousand leaves, then,

Planting horizontals, and a trunk,

Creates a tree. The paw paws on the hill

Appear like rubber stamp art. Washes,

Increasingly diluted, lead downhill,

Then, on the horizon, up. The sea's

A blank. Such Chinese methods

Abstract the scene, note its regularities,

And equate the high heavens with the snowy beach,

And, ah, one third that mound, the pitched roof,

No, that hat, no, that ice-ax, Mount Fuji.

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