Hokusai says


Hokusai: Hawk on a Ceremonial Stand


Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,

every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive—
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

– Roger Keyes


The poet Roger Keyes is an American professor of East Asian studies. This poem is apparently his cross-media translation of the art of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) into poetry.

Sourced from a year of being here – daily mindfulness poetry by wordsmiths of the here & now.


Image: Katsushika Hokusai, Hawk on a Ceremonial Stand, Ukiyo-e

Source: wikiart

From the bookshelf: Hokusai, by Gian Carlo Calza

6 thoughts on “Hokusai says

    1. Thank you for your appreciative comment Ron. I’m delighted that you’ve made your way to ‘a year of being here’ – isn’t it a great project? Perhaps you could contribute some of your poems to the site… 😉

  1. Dear Miriam,
    I broke off our correspondence a couple (?) of years ago when I felt unwilling to get dragged into even more screen time. I do however continue to enjoy and value reading your occasional posts.
    Just wanted to let you know that when I attempt to read more of the current one on Hokusai, I get unwillingly redirected to some ghastly internet game.
    Have you been hijacked?
    With best wishes,

    Anselm van Rood
    0438 340 903


    1. Hi Anselm – good to hear from you again. I’m not sure what’s happening with your redirection issue; I haven’t had any other complaints. I really appreciate your notifying me. How mortifying! Let me take the situation to the WordPress forum.
      Kind regards

    2. Hello again Anselm –

      Since you are the only person to have this issue, and almost 200 people have viewed the post thus far, from both RSS and email links, the advice I’ve been given at the WP forum is:

      “It could be that he has a malware issue on his browser.”

      I’m sure you’ll know what steps to take to sort that, if it’s the case.

      Kind regards

      ps Your site is looking wonderful!

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