|Kumori Cherry Trees Hiroshi Yoshida (1930)|
Under an April Full Moon
“In light, darkness, not taken as darkness. In dark, light, not taken as light.
Light and dark oppose like front and back foot walking.”
The last of dusk, now subsumed in night,
dwells with the pair here in the darkness,
while that enormous April moon,
full & fat, bathes all surfaces in a soft glow.
Subtler still, the cherry blooms,
their momentary show
reflected in shadowy half-light.
The two, one older, both in blossom
pause, as fading eyes mute all starkness
and bring all beings closer to
each other. Time walks here, too
in their forms & in the
two women, their kimonos,
silvered by the shining,
like water in an old well.
# # #
There was a full moon that night or almost a full moon, not that it mattered precisely. The full moon of May, the planting moon, the flower moon, was in perigee, closer than at any other time in a long time. But it was the same full moon as in April when I wrote this poem and the same full moon Hiroshi Yoshida tried to capture in that April sometime between 1920 & 1930 that whispered its image of light in the darkness and darkness in the light.
The color woodcut that is rather poorly depicted by the jpeg above is an attempt to show the beautiful work that inspired the poem. I believe I saw Yoshida’s work more than 30 years ago when I was on a two-week residency for Ohio’s Poets-in-the-Schools’ Program in nearby Findlay, Ohio. My host and hostess encouraged me to stop and I walked this magical museum for hours, fascinated by a magnificent collection that spanned the centuries. Hiroshi Yoshida (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshi_Yoshida) was sort of the Japanese Maxfield Parrish for me. He had a sense of capturing color and light that was mystical, pure and yet heightened, a vision that to me, seems to be Zen in visual form. By coincidence, the TOMA had purchased Yoshida’s entire exhibit when it toured America. After 1925, Yoshida, like many great artists, hired professional carvers and printers and established a studio to create under his close supervision. This print was done in 1930 and I have no idea whether his hand or his eye formed its “perfect symmetry,” but it inspired my poem.
One source of Yoshida’s work, of course, is the Yoshida family. His children, like the school he founded, went on to their own fame. One gallery with images and video that I found had interesting and noteworthy links, is Artolino. (http://tinyurl.com/7296kpy) If the Museum posts links to my poem and the other ekphrastic writing winners, some very talented young writers, I will post these to the blog.