Monday, November 25, 2013

Snow Falling on a Town (Utagawa Kuniyoshi)


The painter says it's snow but I see comet tails,
Stars, and nebulae spin above the snowbound town.
It's all one element. Each flake of crystal hails
Down with blinding insistent force, without a sound,
Unconscious and mute emissaries of deep space.
Each man, woman and child must, for a little while,
Look up, forget their memories and fears, and smile.
Is there a better metaphor than snow for grace?
The town was built in a near treeless mountain's lee
In a valley where the shallow river freezes early,
So melting the snow for water to drink each day
Is a man's burden, deadly to ignore.
Though no one prays to the sky gods for more,
The world would end if snow just went away.

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