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Monday, January 10, 2011

Pine Tree Tops

(Pine Trees, ink-on-paper screen by Hasegawa Tohaku,
1539-1610, Japanese artist)

This luminous example of an ink painting is a designated National Treasure of Japan. It is one of a pair of six-fold screens, each approximately 5 by 11 feet in size. As you walk through the thick mist, the description provided by the Tokyo National Museum tells us, black shadows appear and you are “surrounded by pine trees and can just detect the tops of mountains. The quiet scene, a momentary experience captured for eternity, evokes the rustic and refined realm” of wabi or elegant simplicity.


in the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
the creak of boots.
rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

~ Gary Snyder, born 1930, American poet

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