Katsushika Hokusai



Salute to Hakushū Kitahara

I believe in the homeland beyond the mountains.
The one-eyed god. The captains of the dusky ships,
their tall tales, their long-barrelled lore.
The scarlet vials and faire-zhingo of holy barbarians.

In the deep-eyed valleys, every roadside is strewn
with orphaned verses. The tawny willowwren
and the speckled spiderhunter are known
to line their nests with them.

And I believe in the plainsong of the wee folk on the hill.
The quick blade. The darksome mothers of delusion.
I promise to be guilty of everything.
I beg for the bright dream of the unthinkable.

It has been said that story tellers and spice sellers
have an unnatural power over the memory
and should be avoided.

Still, I believe in the murmur of the Saracen olive trees.
The skunk of corroding metals. Vetiver, vellum
and vetch. The rumour of watchtowers.

In Lizard Bay the whales leap high. Their worn hides.
The weed-locked sea. The sudden suncatch
between the horseshoe and the lighthouse.

Rough, rough is the edge of wakefulness.
Swift, swift is the dreamshift under the bridge of secrets.