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HomePoems > Mount Fuji > 31. Summer Shower Beneath the Peak                           

 

31.  Summer Shower Beneath the Peak

Ugly raw red, lava like sticks not rivers,

This bruised mountain accuses us,

Like a wound. Not Krakatoa

Or Mauna Kea, this crater's cold,

The slopes too steep to climb quickly--

We see it from an airplane or balloon.

Leonardo sketched helicopters,

But Hokusai went up in one to see this--

Perhaps the imagination failed,

Blocking out the trees, eliminating

The go, ignoring the huts at each stage,

So climbers can rest the night and see

First sun, rosy, watermelony, or bloody,

Coming out of the Pacific.

Schoolchildren in Japan say

We are the first to see the sun--

Meaning they beat China. But Hokusai

Turns his back on the red summer ball,

Becoming a mirror, like the one in Shinto shrines,

Reflecting the goddess and his chosen nation,

By showing first light on her best competitor,

Revealing the mountain's inner spirit,

Fire, in the rough and rumpled skin of Mount Fuji.


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