Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Mount Fuji

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Mount Fuji

Article excerpt

Hokusai and Hiroshige, my first presents

to you, two linen-bound books that closed

with looped ribbons and faux-ivory clasps.

Decades later we gaped at Fuji from a window

of Japan Air and gasped together in Narita,

a park so immaculate white rocks gleamed

graphic in a river of gravel. Later still

you'd move between the floating worlds of

ukiyo-e woodcuts and Chinese landscapes

whose surfaces entered you as if it had been fated.

A draughtsman's draughtsman, Hokusai at 70

thought he'd begun to grasp the structures

of birds and beasts, insects and fish, of the way

plants grow, hoped that by 90 he'd have

penetrated to their essential nature.

And more, by 100, I will have reached the stage

where every dot, every mark I make will be

alive. …

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