By the Shore
by Michael Escoubas
After Lake Matsubara, Shinshu, by Hasui Kawase

Nothing is heard save for a loon’s call
in the distant wood
or the rustle of a muskrat’s splash

as the man with a cane pole waits
for a fish’s nibble–
the scene seems self-sufficient in itself:

the lake’s gentle lapping, as if Nature
has a secret
worth telling, something whispered

in the fisherman’s ear. A secret only he
can hear wrapped in
quietude amid the fragrant foliage

surrounding him–what secret beckons
his ear in shade and shadow?
He rests as the lake kisses the shore.


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