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17. View from Sekiya by Sumida River
Like bicycle messengers in New York, these samurai
Gouge flanks, lifting up off the back, jockeying
This curve out of the mainland, across rice paddies,
Toward what? Intense mutterings, meetings,
Explosions. So quickly forgotten, that reason
They rushed past Sekiya, down to the Sumida.
The inn sign inviting them to pause,
Take off their bamboo hats, round as wheels,
Uncinch, and take hot tea.
Too early in the morning, too late
For mist to have completely cleared;
Slicing across the panel,
Conveniently providing depth lines,
Like that oddly placed tree, bent
As crazily as the upraised road.
Roan, black, and palomino, head up or down,
The horses are the same; the riders' kimonos
Differ in color, but balloon in flight,
Military in their uniformity,
Faceless as they bend into the wind.
Like an angry amoeba, red and rising,
The volcano glares across the spit of land,
Demanding as the Emperor's palace guard,
Back in the 1930's, fierce as King Ran,
A spirit out of Kurosawa, that old Commie,
Bringing harmony through terror, riding over
Peasants, rice fields, and community
To get lost in the immense river,
Long forest, or, beyond all towns, Mount Fuji.
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