by Paulette Demers Turco

     inspired by Lake Matsubara, Sinshu,
     traditional Japanese woodblock print
     by Hasui Kawase (1883-1957)

Deftly balanced midst
the rounded shoreline rocks,
near the spindly oak,
its leaves shimmering,
he’s sheltered from the rain
by his straw hat and cape,
his kasa and his mino.

He firmly grips his rod–
meters long, an arc,
tapering to its tip–

facing, as the viewer
does, this noble lake,
its morning surface hues
of lavender and blue,
with hints of deeper green
from a far side copse
of trees, their leaves and needles
rustling in the breeze.

The early morning sky,
still thick with haze, holds pink,
paling, almost white.

One fisherman is poised,
net at hand–in case
a hefty crucian carp
jerks the line and rod.
He’ll yank, then reel it in,
rebait and drop the hook
again, nearby, restoring
this peaceful lakeside scene.


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