For the cricket he built a cage
in the shape of a boat,
kept it close
so he could hear its chirp while he worked.
Twice a day he fed it tidbits,
watched, as it produced these curious sounds
by rubbing its fore-limbs together.
Constructed of toothpicks, the cage
had the appearance of extreme fragility, but was adequate
for this special need.
Invariably it was admired by visitors.
One should not forget, however,
that this caprice of nautical creativity was, in reality, a prison.
In painting he sought to capture,
with just one or two deft strokes
of his brush: the essence of bamboo,
a branch of plum blossoms,
his Shino tea bowl: white, textured,
light as a flower: it would float if you so dared as touch it:
Nature exalted: linear simplicity
In Japanese, all words end in vowels,
so rhyme is monotonous.
Syllabification, in its poetry, is of greater significance.
Such cultural characteristics seem predetermined.
The reality of a room
lies in the empty space enclosed.
Only in a vacuum can Truths
of a primal nature be discovered.
In jujitsu, for example, one seeks
to draw out and exhaust
the enemy by non resistance.
In art, the beholder identifies with the picture,
and, in a way, completes it,
becomes as much one with this masterpiece
as the paint which composed it.
misgiving he wore like a halter,
he carried the cage to a window
and released the cricket.
It seemed to look back at him
it flew off into the garden.
He thought then again
about this room in which both leisure and function were actuated:
Abode of fantasy
Abode of vacancy
Abode of the unsymmetrical