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Mount Fuji
Waterlilies 44.  View from Senju

The archers I saw in the subway headed for the competition carried

Red tubes like these. A little short for the long curve of a bow,

Too light for a broad sword, these tubes look menacing.

Are those short blades at their waists?

Why so many in uniform?

Trouble trundling through the village,

And the two women out on the trail

Sit down to watch, perhaps hoping to be able to say,

We saw it all, from the beach path.

Against the sameness of the houses on the far side,

And the flatness of the in-reach of the bay,

The men are out of order, headed every which way,

Tilting their red tubes so many directions that

I recall deliberate randomness, numbers chosen

Because they form no order we can recognize.

Threatening as this group of guards might be,

They slouch like a bowling team waiting for tickets.

Now their long march ends in the shelter on the right,

As they're checked in. Perhaps no fight broke out,

No one got raped, they just plodded on in the morning.

Their shaved heads look so ordinary,

As they saunter forward, a few staring out

At the women, the village, the breeze,

Or the biggest bald head of all, Mount Fuji.

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Copyright 1998-1999 Jonathan Price, The Communication Circle
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