|Waterlilies||34. View from Inume Pass in Kai Province|
Data dropout, pixels with no clue,
Between us and it, a mile or two of steam
From the lake or gorge below--
Even these ridge-climbers cannot see,
As they pick the solid path, next to
The steep ravine, carrying paper,
Inkstones, radishes, and yukata cloth
For sale on the far side. All day
These travelers have seen it growing,
Lost in the region of cold cloud,
Emerging now, close enough to touch,
But out of reach, like the peak they never
Quite achieve--walruslike, the small hills
Unfold ahead, rising even higher.
These traders are too tired to care,
Tugging their horses, and the walkers, up front,
Just keep going. No tourism here.
The image is complete in back, and front--
The magic is in the middle.
Hokusai uses distance as his excuse
For making a simple set of layers
Add up, except where the tree just accidentally
Intervenes, white on blue on brown and green--
The purified shape, and the simplified detail,
Combining to make the image memorable,
For us, if not these passers by, who just
When we went up this morning, ate at the top
Of the pass, and got in before dark,
A whole day being watched by Mount Fuji."
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Copyright 1998-1999 Jonathan Price, The Communication Circle
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