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Mount Fuji
Waterlilies 46.  People climbing Mount Fuji

And now Mount Fuji's gone,

Or the image of its crater in the distance,

Because we're on it, for the first time,

Looking at the cave of the ancestors,

Clambering over the erratic lava,

Up the ladders, and along the trail we've chosen.

Is this the inner shrine?

Do the thousand and one Buddhas

Bless those who have come so far,

And bowed? We see now how like water

The lava is, even after hardening;

Dangerous, but put on pause,

On some August day before the snows return,

Cutting off the passes, and killing

Anyone who comes too late, or stays too long.

Hokusai likes jumping moments;

His attention lives by leaving,

Freed of names, addresses, roles, and bodies,

Not going anywhere, but keeping going.

Art wears down the personality, too.

He whittles each woodblock like a walking stick,

To move beyond. Imagination

Serves to magnify, not trap, the energy he uses

To surround, invade, and then abandon

People, horses, hats, trees, and self.

What's left? His soul, a polished mirror,

Reflects its source, by envisioning,

Then leaving to the divine, Mount Fuji.

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Copyright 1998-1999 Jonathan Price, The Communication Circle
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