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´╗┐Title: Japanese Prints
Author: Fletcher, John Gould, 1886-1950
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Japanese Prints" ***

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  | TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES                                    |
  |                                                        |
  | The letter o with a macron is represented as o[u].     |

_Japanese Prints_

  | By John Gould Fletcher                                 |
  |                                                        |
  | Japanese Prints                                        |
  | Goblins and Pagodas                                    |
  | Irradiations: Sand and Spray                           |


    "Of what is she dreaming?
     Of long nights lit with orange lanterns,
     Of wine-cups and compliments and kisses of the two-sword men."

_Japanese Prints_


_John Gould Fletcher_

_With Illustrations By
Dorothy Pulis Lathrop_


_The Four Seas Company_

_Copyright, 1918, by
The Four Seas Company_

_The Four Seas Press
Boston, Mass., U.S.A._

_To My Wife_

_Granted this dew-drop world be but a dew-drop world,
This granted, yet--_

_Table of Contents_

PREFACE                                                   11


     Lovers Embracing                                     21
     A Picnic Under the Cherry Trees                      22
     Court Lady Standing Under Cherry Tree                23
     Court Lady Standing Under a Plum Tree                24
     A Beautiful Woman                                    25
     A Reading                                            26
     An Actor as a Dancing Girl                           27
     Josan No Miya                                        28
     An Oiran and Her Kamuso                              29
     Two Ways Of Love                                     30
     Kurenai-ye or "Red Picture"                          31
     A Woman Standing by a Gate with an Umbrella          32
     Scene from a Drama                                   33
     A Woman in Winter Costume                            34
     A Pedlar                                             35
     Kiyonobu and Kiyomasu Contrasted                     36
     An Actor                                             37


     Memory and Forgetting                                41
     Pillar-Print, Masonobu                               42
     The Young Daimyo                                     43
     Masonubu--Early                                      44
     The Beautiful Geisha                                 45
     A Young Girl                                         46
     The Heavenly Poetesses                               47
     The Old Love and The New                             48
     Fugitive Thoughts                                    49
     Disappointment                                       50
     The Traitor                                          51
     The Fop                                              52
     Changing Love                                        53
     In Exile                                             54
     The True Conqueror                                   55
     Spring Love                                          56
     The Endless Lament                                   57
     Toyonobu. Exile's Return                             58
     Wind and Chrysanthemum                               59
     The Endless Pilgrimage                               60


     The Clouds                                           63
     Two Ladies Contrasted                                64
     A Night Festival                                     65
     Distant Coasts                                       66
     On the Banks of the Sumida                           67
     Yoshiwara Festival                                   68
     Sharaku Dreams                                       69
     A Life                                               70
     Dead Thoughts                                        71
     A Comparison                                         72
     Mutability                                           73
     Despair                                              74
     The Lonely Grave                                     75


     Evening Sky                                          79
     City Lights                                          80
     Fugitive Beauty                                      81
     Silver Jars                                          82
     Evening Rain                                         83
     Toy-Boxes                                            84
     Moods                                                85
     Grass                                                86
     A Landscape                                          87
     Terror                                               88
     Mid-Summer Dusk                                      89
     Evening Bell from a Distant Temple                   90
     A Thought                                            91
     The Stars                                            92
     Japan                                                93
     Leaves                                               94

_List of Illustrations_

"Of what is she dreaming?
 Of long nights lit with orange lanterns,
 Of wine-cups and compliments and kisses
   of the two-sword men."                       Frontispiece

HEADPIECE--PART I                                         19

TAILPIECE--PART I                                         37

HEADPIECE--PART II                                        39

"Out of the rings and the bubbles,
 The curls and the swirls of the water,
 Out of the crystalline shower of drops shattered in play,
 Her body and her thoughts arose."                        46

"The cranes have come back to the temple,
 The winds are flapping the flags about,
 Through a flute of reeds
 I will blow a song."                                     58

TAILPIECE--PART II                                        60

HEADPIECE--PART III                                       61

"Then in her heart they grew,
 The snows of changeless winter,
 Stirred by the bitter winds of unsatisfied desire."      70

TAILPIECE--PART III                                       75

HEADPIECE--PART IV                                        77

HEADPIECE--PART IV                                        94

"The green and violet peacocks
 Through the golden dusk
 Stately, nostalgically,
 Parade."                                            Endleaf


At the earliest period concerning which we have any accurate
information, about the sixth century A. D., Japanese poetry already
contained the germ of its later development. The poems of this early
date were composed of a first line of five syllables, followed by a
second of seven, followed by a third of five, and so on, always ending
with a line of seven syllables followed by another of equal number. Thus
the whole poem, of whatever length (a poem of as many as forty-nine
lines was scarce, even at that day) always was composed of an odd number
of lines, alternating in length of syllables from five to seven, until
the close, which was an extra seven syllable line. Other rules there
were none. Rhyme, quantity, accent, stress were disregarded. Two vowels
together must never be sounded as a diphthong, and a long vowel counts
for two syllables, likewise a final "n", and the consonant "m" in some

This method of writing poetry may seem to the reader to suffer from
serious disadvantages. In reality this was not the case. Contrast it for
a moment with the undignified welter of undigested and ex parte
theories which academic prosodists have tried for three hundred years to
foist upon English verse, and it will be seen that the simple Japanese
rule has the merit of dignity. The only part of it that we Occidentals
could not accept perhaps, with advantage to ourselves, is the peculiarly
Oriental insistence on an odd number of syllables for every line and an
odd number of lines to every poem. To the Western mind, odd numbers
sound incomplete. But to the Chinese (and Japanese art is mainly a
highly-specialized expression of Chinese thought), the odd numbers are
masculine and hence heavenly; the even numbers feminine and hence
earthy. This idea in itself, the antiquity of which no man can tell,
deserves no less than a treatise be written on it. But the place for
that treatise is not here.

To return to our earliest Japanese form. Sooner or later this
crystallized into what is called a tanka or short ode. This was always
five lines in length, constructed syllabically 5, 7, 5, 7, 7, or
thirty-one syllables in all. Innumerable numbers of these tanka were
written. Gradually, during the feudal period, improvising verses became
a pastime in court circles. Some one would utter the first three lines
of a tanka and some one else would cap the composition by adding the
last two. This division persisted. The first hemistich which was
composed of 17 syllables grew to be called the hokku, the second or
finishing hemistich of 14 syllables was called ageku. Thus was born the
form which is more peculiarly Japanese than any other, and which only
they have been able to carry to perfection.

Composing hokku might, however, have remained a mere game of elaborate
literary conceits and double meanings, but for the genius of one man.
This was the great Basho[u] (1644-1694) who may be called certainly the
greatest epigrammatist of any time. During a life of extreme and
voluntary self-denial and wandering, Basho[u] contrived to obtain over a
thousand disciples, and to found a school of hokku writing which has
persisted down to the present day. He reformed the hokku, by introducing
into everything he wrote a deep spiritual significance underlying the
words. He even went so far as to disregard upon occasion the syllabic
rule, and to add extraneous syllables, if thereby he might perfect his
statement. He set his face sternly against impromptus, _poemes
d'occasion_, and the like. The number of his works were not large, and
even these he perpetually sharpened and polished. His influence
persisted for long after his death. A disciple and priest of Zen
Buddhism himself, his work is permeated with the feeling of that

Zen Buddhism, as Basho[u] practised it, may be called religion under the
forms of nature. Everything on earth, from the clouds in the sky to the
pebble by the roadside, has some spiritual or ethical significance for
us. Blake's words describe the aim of the Zen Buddhist as well as any

    "To see a World in a grain of sand,
    And a Heaven in a wild flower;
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And Eternity in an hour."

Basho[u] would have subscribed to this as the sole rule of poetry and
imagination. The only difference between the Western and the Eastern
mystic is that where one sees the world in the grain of sand and tells
you all about it, the other sees and lets his silence imply that he
knows its meaning. Or to quote Lao-tzu: "Those who speak do not know,
those who know do not speak." It must always be understood that there is
an implied continuation to every Japanese hokku. The concluding
hemistich, whereby the hokku becomes the tanka, is existent in the
writer's mind, but never uttered.

Let us take an example. The most famous hokku that Basho[u] wrote, might
be literally translated thus:

    "An old pond
    And the sound of a frog leaping
    Into the water."

This means nothing to the Western mind. But to the Japanese it means all
the beauty of such a life of retirement and contemplation as Basho[u]
practised. If we permit our minds to supply the detail Basho[u]
deliberately omitted, we see the mouldering temple enclosure, the sage
himself in meditation, the ancient piece of water, and the sound of a
frog's leap--passing vanity--slipping into the silence of eternity. The
poem has three meanings. First it is a statement of fact. Second, it is
an emotion deduced from that. Third, it is a sort of spiritual allegory.
And all this Basho[u] has given us in his seventeen syllables.

All of Basho[u]'s poems have these three meanings. Again and again we
get a sublime suggestion out of some quite commonplace natural fact. For

    "On the mountain-road
    There is no flower more beautiful
    Than the wild violet."

The wild violet, scentless, growing hidden and neglected among the rocks
of the mountain-road, suggested to Basho[u] the life of the Buddhist
hermit, and thus this poem becomes an exhortation to "shun the world, if
you would be sublime."

I need not give further examples. The reader can now see for himself
what the main object of the hokku poetry is, and what it achieved. Its
object was some universalized emotion derived from a natural fact. Its
achievement was the expression of that emotion in the fewest possible
terms. It is therefore necessary, if poetry in the English tongue is
ever to attain again to the vitality and strength of its beginnings,
that we sit once more at the feet of the Orient and learn from it how
little words can express, how sparingly they should be used, and how
much is contained in the meanest natural object. Shakespeare, who could
close a scene of brooding terror with the words: "But see, the morn in
russet mantle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill" was
nearer to the oriental spirit than we are. We have lost Shakespeare's
instinct for nature and for fresh individual vision, and we are
unwilling to acquire it through self-discipline. If we do not want art
to disappear under the froth of shallow egotism, we must learn the
lesson Basho[u] can teach us.

That is not to say, that, by taking the letter for the spirit, we should
in any way strive to imitate the hokku form. Good hokkus cannot be
written in English. The thing we have to follow is not a form, but a
spirit. Let us universalize our emotions as much as possible, let us
become impersonal as Shakespeare or Basho[u] was. Let us not gush about
our fine feelings. Let us admit that the highest and noblest feelings
are things that cannot be put into words. Therefore let us conceal them
behind the words we have chosen. Our definition of poetry would then
become that of Edwin Arlington Robinson, that poetry is a language which
tells through a reaction upon our emotional natures something which
cannot be put into words. Unless we set ourselves seriously to the task
of understanding that language is only a means and never an end, poetic
art will be dead in fifty years, from a surfeit of superficial
cleverness and devitalized realism.

In the poems that follow I have taken as my subjects certain designs of
the so-called Uki-oye (or Passing World) school. These prints, made and
produced for purely popular consumption by artists who, whatever their
genius, were despised by the literati of their time, share at least one
characteristic with Japanese poetry, which is, that they exalt the most
trivial and commonplace subjects into the universal significance of
works of art. And therefore I have chosen them to illustrate my
doctrine, which is this: that one must learn to do well small things
before doing things great; that the universe is just as much in the
shape of a hand as it is in armies, politics, astronomy, or the
exhortations of gospel-mongers; that style and technique rest on the
thing conveyed and not the means of conveyance; and that though
sentiment is a good thing, understanding is a better. As for the poems
themselves they are in some cases not Japanese at all, but all
illustrate something of the charm I have found in Japanese poetry and
art. And if they induce others to seek that charm for themselves, my
purpose will have been attained.



_Part I_

_Lovers Embracing_

    Force and yielding meet together:
    An attack is half repulsed.
    Shafts of broken sunlight dissolving
    Convolutions of torpid cloud.

_A Picnic Under the Cherry Trees_

    The boat drifts to rest
    Under the outward spraying branches.

    There is faint sound of quavering strings,
    The reedy murmurs of a flute,
    The soft sigh of the wind through silken garments;

    All these are mingled
    With the breeze that drifts away,
    Filled with thin petals of cherry blossom,
    Like tinkling laughter dancing away in sunlight.

_Court Lady Standing Under Cherry Tree_

    She is an iris,
    Dark purple, pale rose,
    Under the gnarled boughs
    That shatter their stars of bloom.
    She waves delicately
    With the movement of the tree.

    Of what is she dreaming?

    Of long nights lit with orange lanterns,
    Of wine cups and compliments and kisses of the two-sword men.
    And of dawn when weary sleepers
    Lie outstretched on the mats of the palace,
    And of the iris stalk that is broken in the fountain.

_Court Lady Standing Under a Plum Tree_

    Autumn winds roll through the dry leaves
    On her garments;
    Autumn birds shiver
    Athwart star-hung skies.
    Under the blossoming plum-tree,
    She expresses the pilgrimage
    Of grey souls passing,
    Athwart love's scarlet maples
    To the ash-strewn summit of death.

_A Beautiful Woman_

    Must be her name.

    Tall and lonely as the mountain-iris,
    Cold and distant.

    She has never known longing:
    Many have died for love of her.

_A Reading_

    "And the prince came to the craggy rock
    But saw only hissing waves
    So he rested all day amid them."

    He listens idly,
    He is content with her voice.

    He dreams it is the murmur
    Of distant wave-caps breaking
    Upon the painted screen.

_An Actor as a Dancing Girl_

    The peony dancer
    Swirls orange folds of dusty robes
    Through the summer.

    They are spotted with thunder showers,
    Falling upon the crimson petals.

    Heavy blooms
    Breaking and spilling fiery cups

_Josan No Miya_

    She is a fierce kitten leaping in sunlight
    Towards the swaying boughs.

    She is a gust of wind,
    Bending in parallel curves the boughs of the willow-tree.

_An Oiran and her Kamuso_

    Gilded hummingbirds are whizzing
    Through the palace garden,
    Deceived by the jade petals
    Of the Emperor's jewel-trees.

_Two Ways of Love_

    The wind half blows her robes,
    That subside
    As swaying pines.

    The wind tosses hers
    In circles
    That recoil upon themselves:
    How should I love--as the swaying or tossing wind?

_Kurenai-ye or "Red Picture"_

    She glances expectantly
    Through the pine avenue,
    To the cherry-tree summit
    Where her lover will appear.

    Faint rose anticipation colours her,
    And sunset;
    She is a cherry-tree that has taken long to bloom.

_A Woman Standing by a Gate with an Umbrella_

    Late summer changes to autumn:
    Chrysanthemums are scattered
    Behind the palings.

    Gold and vermilion
    The afternoon.

    I wait here dreaming of vermilion sunsets:
    In my heart is a half fear of the chill autumn rain.

_Scene from a Drama_

    The daimyo and the courtesan
    Compliment each other.

    He invites her to walk out through the maples,
    She half refuses, hiding fear in her heart.

    Far in the shadow
    The daimyo's attendant waits,
    Nervously fingering his sword.

_A Woman in Winter Costume_

    She is like the great rains
    That fall over the earth in winter-time.

    Wave on wave her heavy robes collapse
    In green torrents
    Lashed with slaty foam.

    Downward the sun strikes amid them
    And enkindles a lone flower;
    A violet iris standing yet in seething pools of grey.

_A Pedlar_

    Gaily he offers
    Packets of merchandise.

    He is a harlequin of illusions,
    His nimble features
    Skip into smiles, like rainbows,
    Cheating the villagers.

    But in his heart all the while is another knowledge,
    The sorrow of the bleakness of the long wet winter night.

_Kiyonobu and Kiyomasu Contrasted_

    One life is a long summer;
    Tall hollyhocks stand proud upon its paths;
    Little yellow waves of sunlight,
    Bring scarlet butterflies.

    Another life is a brief autumn,
    Fierce storm-rack scrawled with lightning
    Passed over it
    Leaving the naked bleeding earth,
    Stabbed with the swords of the rain.

_An Actor_

    He plots for he is angry,
    He sneers for he is bold.

    He clinches his fist
    Like a twisted snake;
    Coiling itself, preparing to raise its head,
    Above the long grasses of the plain.



_Part II_

_Memory and Forgetting_

    I have forgotten how many times he kissed me,
    But I cannot forget
    A swaying branch--a leaf that fell
    To earth.

_Pillar-Print, Masonobu_

    He stands irresolute
    Cloaking the light of his lantern.

    Tonight he will either find new love or a sword-thrust,
    But his soul is troubled with ghosts of old regret.

    Like vines with crimson flowers
    They climb
    Into his heart.

_The Young Daimyo_

    When he first came out to meet me,
    He had just been girt with the two swords;
    And I found he was far more interested in the glitter of their hilts,
    And did not even compare my kiss to a cherry-blossom.


    She was a dream of moons, of fluttering handkerchiefs,
    Of flying leaves, of parasols,
    A riddle made to break my heart;
    The lightest impulse
    To her was more dear than the deep-toned temple bell.
    She fluttered to my sword-hilt an instant,
    And then flew away;
    But who will spend all day chasing a butterfly?

_The Beautiful Geisha_

    Swift waves hissing
    Under the moonlight;
    Tarnished silver.

    Swaying boats
    Under the moonlight,
    Gold lacquered prows.

    Is it a vision
    Under the moonlight?
    No, it is only
    A beautiful geisha swaying down the street.

_A Young Girl_

    Out of the rings and the bubbles,
    The curls and the swirls of the water,
    Out of the crystalline shower of drops shattered in play,
    Her body and her thoughts arose.

    She dreamed of some lover
    To whom she might offer her body
    Fresh and cool as a flower born in the rain.


_The Heavenly Poetesses_

    In their bark of bamboo reeds
    The heavenly poetesses
    Float across the sky.

    Poems are falling from them
    Swift as the wind that shakes the lance-like bamboo leaves;
    The stars close around like bubbles
    Stirred by the silver oars of poems passing.

_The Old Love and the New_

    Beware, for the dying vine can hold
    The strongest oak.

    Only by cutting at the root
    Can love be altered.

    Late in the night
    A rosy glimmer yet defies the darkness.

    But the evening is growing late,
    The blinds are being lowered;
    She who held your heart and charmed you
    Is only a rosy glimmer of flame remembered.

_Fugitive Thoughts_

    My thoughts are sparrows passing
    Through one great wave that breaks
    In bubbles of gold on a black motionless rock.


    Rain rattles on the pavement,
    Puddles stand in the bluish stones;
    Afar in the Yoshiwara
    Is she who holds my heart.

    Alas, the torn lantern of my hope
    Trembles and sputters in the rain.

_The Traitor_

    I saw him pass at twilight;
    He was a dark cloud travelling
    Over palace roofs
    With one claw drooping.

    In his face were written ages
    Of patient treachery
    And the knowledge of his hour.

    One dainty thrust, no more
    Than this, he needs.

_The Fop_

    His heart is like a wind
    Torn between cloud and butterfly;
    Whether he will roll passively to one,
    Or chase endlessly the other.

_Changing Love_

    My love for her at first was like the smoke that drifts
    Across the marshes
    From burning woods.

    But, after she had gone,
    It was like the lotus that lifts up
    Its heart shaped buds from the dim waters.

_In Exile_

    My heart is mournful as thunder moving
    Through distant hills
    Late on a long still night of autumn.

    My heart is broken and mournful
    As rain heard beating
    Far off in the distance
    While earth is parched more near.

    On my heart is the black badge of exile;
    I droop over it,
    I accept its shame.

_The True Conqueror_

    He only can bow to men
    Lofty as a god
    To those beneath him,
    Who has taken sins and sorrows
    And whose deathless spirit leaps
    Beneath them like a golden carp in the torrent.

_Spring Love_

    Through the weak spring rains
    Two lovers walk together,
    Holding together the parasol.

    But the laughing rains of spring
    Will break the weak green shoots of their love.

    His will grow a towering stalk,
    Hers, a cowering flower under it.

_The Endless Lament_

    Spring rain falls through the cherry blossom,
    In long blue shafts
    On grasses strewn with delicate stars.

    The summer rain sifts through the drooping willow,
    Shatters the courtyard
    Leaving grey pools.

    The autumn rain drives through the maples
    Scarlet threads of sorrow,
    Towards the snowy earth.

    Would that the rains of all the winters
    Might wash away my grief!

_Toyonobu. Exile's Return_

    The cranes have come back to the temple,
    The winds are flapping the flags about,
    Through a flute of reeds
    I will blow a song.

    Let my song sigh as the breeze through the cryptomerias,
    And pause like long flags flapping,
    And dart and flutter aloft, like a wind-bewildered crane.


_Wind and Chrysanthemum_

    Chrysanthemums bending
    Before the wind.

    Chrysanthemums wavering
    In the black choked grasses.

    The wind frowns at them,
    He tears off a green and orange stalk of broken chrysanthemum.

    The chrysanthemums spread their flattered heads,
    And scurry off before the wind.

_The Endless Pilgrimage_

    Storm-birds of autumn
    With draggled wings:

    Sleet-beaten, wind-tattered, snow-frozen,
    Stopping in sheer weariness
    Between the gnarled red pine trees
    Twisted in doubt and despair;

    Whence do you come, pilgrims,
    Over what snow fields?
    To what southern province
    Hidden behind dim peaks, would you go?

    "Too long were the telling
    Wherefore we set out;
    And where we will find rest
    Only the Gods may tell."



_Part III_

_The Clouds_

    Although there was no sound in all the house,
    I could not forbear listening for the cry of those long white rippling waves
    Dragging up their strength to break on the sullen beach of the sky.

_Two Ladies Contrasted_

    The harmonies of the robes of this gay lady
    Are like chants within a temple sweeping outwards
    To the morn.

    But I prefer the song of the wind by a stream
    Where a shy lily half hides itself in the grasses;
    To the night of clouds and stars and wine and passion,
    In a palace of tesselated restraint and splendor.

_A Night Festival_

    Sparrows and tame magpies chatter
    In the porticoes
    Lit with many a lantern.

    There is idle song,
    Scandal over full wine cups,
    Sorrow does not matter.

    Only beyond the still grey shoji
    For the breadth of innumerable countries,
    Is the sea with ships asleep
    In the blue-black starless night.

_Distant Coasts_

    A squall has struck the sea afar off.
    You can feel it quiver
    Over the paper parasol
    With which she shields her face;

    In the drawn-together skirts of her robes,
    As she turns to meet it.

_On the Banks of the Sumida_

    Windy evening of autumn,
    By the grey-green swirling river,
    People are resting like still boats
    Tugging uneasily at their cramped chains.

    Some are moving slowly
    Like the easy winds:

    Brown-blue, dull-green, the villages in the distance
    Sleep on the banks of the river:
    The waters sullenly clash and murmur.
    The chatter of the passersby,
    Is dulled beneath the grey unquiet sky.

_Yoshiwara Festival_

    The green and violet peacocks
    With golden tails

    Beneath the fluttering jangling streamers
    They walk
    Violet and gold.

    The green and violet peacocks
    Through the golden dusk
    Showered upon them from the vine-hung lanterns,
    Stately, nostalgically,

_Sharaku Dreams_

    I will scrawl on the walls of the night

    Leering, sneering, scowling, threatening faces;
    Weeping, twisting, yelling, howling faces;
    Faces fixed in a contortion between a scream and a laugh,
    Meaningless faces.

    I will cover the walls of night
    With faces,
    Till you do not know
    If these faces are but masks, or you the masks for them.

    Faces too grotesque for laughter,
    Faces too shattered by pain for tears,
    Faces of such ugliness
    That the ugliness grows beauty.

    They will haunt you morning, evening,
    Burning, burning, ever returning.
    Their own infamy creating,
    Till you strike at life and hate it,
    Burn your soul up so in hating.

    I will scrawl on the walls of the night

_A Life_

    Her life was like a swiftly rushing stream
    Green and scarlet,
    Falling into darkness.

    The seasons passed for her,
    Like pale iris wilting,
    Or peonies flying to ribbons before the storm-gusts.
    The sombre pine-tops waited until the seasons had passed.

    Then in her heart they grew
    The snows of changeless winter
    Stirred by the bitter winds of unsatisfied desire.


_Dead Thoughts_

    My thoughts are an autumn breeze
    Lifting and hurrying
    Dry rubbish about in a corner.

    My thoughts are willow branches
    Already broken
    Motionless at twilight.

_A Comparison_

    My beloved is like blue smoke that rises
    In long slow planes,
    And wavers
    Over the dark paths of old gardens long neglected.


    The wind shakes the mists
    Making them quiver
    With faint drum-tones of thunder.

    Out of the crane-haunted mists of autumn,
    Blue and brown
    Rolls the moon.

    There was a city living here long ago,
    Of all that city
    There is only one stone left half-buried in the marsh,
    With characters upon it which no one now can read.


    Despair hangs in the broken folds of my garments;
    It clogs my footsteps,
    Like snow in the cherry bloom.

    In my heart is the sorrow
    Of years like red leaves buried in snow.

_The Lonely Grave_

    Pilgrims will ascend the road in early summer,
    Passing my tombstone
    Mossy, long forgotten.

    Girls will laugh and scatter cherry petals,
    Sometimes they will rest in the twisted pine-trees' shade.

    If one presses her warm lips to this tablet
    The dust of my body will feel a thrill, deep down in the silent earth.



_Part IV_

_Evening Sky_

    The sky spreads out its poor array
    Of tattered flags,
    Saffron and rose
    Over the weary huddle of housetops
    Smoking their evening pipes in silence.

_City Lights_

    The city gleams with lights this evening
    Like loud and yawning laughter from red lips.

_Fugitive Beauty_

    As the fish that leaps from the river,
    As the dropping of a November leaf at twilight,
    As the faint flicker of lightning down the southern sky,
    So I saw beauty, far away.

_Silver Jars_

    I dreamed I caught your loveliness
    In little silver jars:
    And when you died I opened them,
    And there was only soot within.

_Evening Rain_

    Rain fell so softly, in the evening,
    I almost thought it was the trees that were talking.


    Cities are the toy-boxes
    Time plays with:
    And there are often many doll-houses
    Of which the dolls are lost.


    A poet's moods:
    Fluttering butterflies in the rain.


    Grass moves in the wind,
    My soul is backwards blown.

_A Landscape_

    Land, green-brown;
    Sea, brown-grey;
    Island, dull peacock blue;
    Sky, stone-grey.


    Because of the long pallid petals of white chrysanthemums
    Waving to and fro,
    I dare not go.

_Mid-Summer Dusk_

    Swallows twittering at twilight:
    Waves of heat
    Churned to flames by the sun.

_Evening Bell from a Distant Temple_

    A bell in the fog
    Creeps out echoing faintly
    The pale broad flashes
    Of vibrating twilight,
    Faded gold.

_A Thought_

    A piece of paper ready to toss in the fire,
    Blackened, scrawled with fragments of an incomplete song:
    My soul.

_The Stars_

    There is a goddess who walks shrouded by day:
    At night she throws her blue veil over the earth.
    Men only see her naked glory through the little holes in the veil.


    An old courtyard
    Hidden away
    In the afternoon.
    Grey walks,
    Mossy stones,
    Copper carp swimming lazily,
    And beyond,
    A faint toneless hissing echo of rain
    That tears at my heart.


    The splaying silhouette of horse-chestnut leaves
    Against the tall and delicate, patrician-tinged sky
    Like a princess in blue robes behind a grille of bronze.


_An edition of 1000 copies only, of which 975 copies have been printed
on Olde Style paper, and 25 copies on Japanese Vellum._


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Japanese Prints" ***

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