background image
the white boat 71
the presence of the moon, and water, and cliff s,
in that full understanding
possessed by Su Tung-p'o.
Stillness of evening: Murasaki
is sitting chin in hand
at the writing desk, set up
for her on a balcony of
the temple retreat; above her
a lantern glows, suspended
from an unseen roof-timber
over the railing; and blocked
in part by the lantern, shines
the full moon: a line-up
of three lights -- Murasaki
being the greatest of these -- while
everywhere both visible and hidden burns
the fourth light Yoshitoshi.
The courtier Fujiwara no Yasumasa stands
playing the fl ute, oblivious of the bandit
Hakamadare Yasusuke, crouched behind him
amongst the tall and delicately formed grasses,
unable to draw his sword, immobilized
by the beauty of the music: the moon has come
three-fourths out of a fog-soft cloud to watch.
The ebbing moonlit sea has drawn
from two ancient pine trees
the spirits Jo and Uba, old couple