John Singer Sargent. 1909
Kawase-Hasui - Ochanomizu
The following poem is from my book A LIMITED MEANS OF EXPRESSION published by Rattlesnake Press, Pollack Pines, Ca. 2011. The book is out of print.
‘THERE IS NO LANGUAGE WITHOUT DECEIT’
The thing seen
And the seer are the
Same thing, yet neither
Knows it. The seer suspects
That this is so but the world
Denies the knowledge until
A particular time.
In the latter part of the day
Three men will appear with a bag
That seems too heavy for any
One man to carry. They will offer
It for sale and will produce
Lovely tales of the contents
Of this bag.
There is a holy light that descends
Near here just before the sun
Forgets itself and slips below
The horizon as if it were about
To hide something from us.
Here we will gather. Many will
Make fires and begin to speak
Tales that at first seem ordinary
But eventually become punctuated
With giraffes and birds of strange
Plumage, alleys where the eyes
Of great cats glow and one can
Hear dice clatter to the cobble
Stones or see doorways open for
A second and a beautiful woman may
Be seen laughing invitingly, then
Disappearing behind the door bringing
A pointed kind of darkness that
Stills the voices of the story tellers
For a moment.
Tea is made and occasionally a harp
Or flute can be heard nearby making
A melody that we feel we have always
Known and wish to tell others about.
The clicking of shoes against the stones,
Small sounds that might be language
Engage us and we begin to feel
That this is truly correct.