Tama River in Musashi Province
I am on a large rise looking down at the river. My eyes will go further than my voice. In this height, clouds catch in my white beard. If I was to go home now, my wife would have to dry the moisture on my eyebrows. She would ask why my forehead is tanned with blush. I would have to admit I have been dreaming that her and the goddess was one spirit. She would choke laughter and warn that I was still a lusty man regardless of my age or ability. The more I imagine, the more my body is a river never finding home.
Down below, a man has guided his horse to the water. The horse is drinking the memory of journeys. The man is holding either a hat or a shield. Is there a difference between hat and shield when the world is at rest? He seems to be the only person moving away from Mount Fuji.
There is a boat in the river. I can only see two men with a bundle between them. From here, it appears to be wood. But there are no trees to cut on either side, so I cannot be correct. Their boat is pointed to Fuji, but the boat is sits in the middle river, not moving, and neither man is fishing. If I keep guessing, I will probably be wrong all the way past sundown.
I wonder what my wife is doing now. Is she fishing for a stick to toss on the fire? Is she chuckling at my odd challenge of painting at my age? On this hill, I lose all perspective.
Everything looks down from here.
When you are seventy, both you and a wooden boat will creak.
Frogs in trees singing,
below the water is stilled.
Reeds repeat the songs.
Martin Willitts Jr
Martin Willitts Jr has 11 full-length collections including National Ecological Award winner “Searching for What You Cannot See” (Hiraeth Press, 2013), “Before Anything, There Was Mystery” (Flutter Press, 2014), “Irises, the Lightning Conductor For Van Gogh's Illness” (Aldrich Press, 2014), “God Is Not Amused with What You Are Doing in Her Name” (Aldrich Press, 2015), “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016).
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