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HomePoems > Mount Fuji > 23. View from Fujimigahara in Owari Province                    

 

23.  View from Fujimigahara in Owari Province

Muscling the last board tight, Hokusai

Exposes structure, tools, and sweat--

Barrel, or tub, this circle leads us in,

Then we spin, board by board, and pop out

Onto the sand, and some unseen slope

So big it puts us hundreds of feet above

The mudlines between rice paddies;

Pulling back, we conclude we're on a cliff,

Liable to roll off, but no, now

We are inside a tunnel, at the mouth,

Peering through, not around.

 

Hokusai's the artist of prepositions, always

Subtly shape-shifting, waving away

The middle ground, erasing the exact link

Between here and there.

Like a taiko drum, this vast O

Bangs on our attention. The periphery

Fades away, one tree becoming a far-off

Forest; the scene is inside the wheel, and out.

How slight the almost unnoticed extra,

The modest exclamation, the "over there"

Just poking up, a bit off-center,

The snowpile in summer, his own Mount Fuji!


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