Spread-eagled in your bubble,
do you dream of your circle dissolving
in a dawn of plain, white paper?
Do you long to challenge geometry,
to dance with abandon,
your limbs scribbling new patterns?
Would you like to, just once,
trade the golden mean
for a bruised pair of jeans,
and a girlfriend?
Or have those dotted lines across your torso
nailed you to perfect proportion for so long
that you would not risk a cubit
to lever your circle out of its square
and begin to the slow roll out of bounds…?
Are you content to be
an eternal outline of a man,
an outline devoid of muscle and blood,
passion and grief?
After all you are a celebrity:
a mathematical mannequin,
a model of the ideal,
human, but unreachable.
Do you envy us who live unraveled?
Is Leonardo your god?
Or your jailer?
© 8/2020 Patricia Doyne
THE GREAT WAVE OF KANEGAWA
A huge, blue wave rears up,
arches its back,
claws at the sky,
crests— and freezes!
Time stops in that last instant
before cataclysmic crash…
Framed by the great wave,
Mt. Fuji poses:
afar, aloof, eternal…
This snow-capped cone has seen
waves come and go,
oarsmen come and go,
samurai come and go,
emperors come and go…
In Hokusai’s time,
Japan’s shell was cracking open.
New ideas. New neighbors.
Imports. Exports. Uncharted waters.
But even when promise lights up the horizon,
even when the odds are in your favor,
a sea of Prussian blue can sneak up…
Swell. Rise. Ambush the unwary.
Sink the best-laid plans.
Fuji watches with Olympian indifference.
Beneath the giant wave,
tiny men in a longboat row for their lives.
ants beneath a raised foot:
But the wave never crashes down.
Karma is stalled by pen and ink
on a woodblock print.
The oarsmen row forever
towards a safety forever out of reach.
This is the floating world: ukiyo-e.
(Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was a Japanese artist,
ukiyo-e painter, and printmaker. His woodblock print
”The Great Wave of Kanegawa” is from his series
Thirty-Six Views of Mr. Fuji.)
© 3/2019 Patricia Doyne