A Coloured Print by Shokei

- 1874-1925
          It winds along the face of a cliff
           This path which I long to explore,
          And over it dashes a waterfall,
           And the air is full of the roar
          And the thunderous voice of waters which sweep
          In a silver torrent over some steep.

          It clears the path with a mighty bound
           And tumbles below and away,
          And the trees and the bushes which grow in the rocks
           Are wet with its jewelled spray;
          The air is misty and heavy with sound,
          And small, wet wildflowers star the ground.

          Oh! The dampness is very good to smell,
           And the path is soft to tread,
          And beyond the fall it winds up and on,
           While little streamlets thread
          Their own meandering way down the hill
          Each singing its own little song, until

          I forget that 't is only a pictured path,
           And I hear the water and wind,
          And look through the mist, and strain my eyes
           To see what there is behind;
          For it must lead to a happy land,
          This little path by a waterfall spanned.


You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

The Taxi

When I go away from you
The world beats dead 
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?

The Letter

Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly's legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor
Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.

I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.