July/Aug 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 4 PoetryJuly 1, 2015 |

Mountains of the Heart

An artist's book drawn by Kameda Bōsai in 1816 If I were to pray a prayer, would the prayer unfold like a scrolling landscape of mountains, rivers, valleys, where here, there, a figure sits in calm contemplation,praying, composing a poem, or just being there, where a boatman poles his slender craft upstream against a current trying to take him elsewhere, or a solitary traveler walks on a winding mountain path, her cloak wrapped tightly around her, her face obscured. Here, here, and here, mountains and the ghost of mountains, mountains repeating themselves, mountains everywhere, and playing over, under, and through it all, the sound of a lonely qin, echoing, echoing, echoing. • • Ink on the page. Ink. In Edo two centuries ago, on the fifteenth day of the third month, the literati had a party. Among ink sticks and laughter, sake and toasts, Bōsai drew deep into the night. Waking the next morning, wondering, turning each sheet over, disbelieving, Bōsai asked, "Who

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Elizabeth Spires’s books include The Wave Maker, Now the Green Blade Rises, and Worldling. She lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College. In 2011–12 she was a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.

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Tea

By Elizabeth Spires

An artist's book drawn by Kameda Bōsai in 1816 If I were to pray a prayer, would the prayer unfold like a scrolling landscape of mountains, rivers, valleys, where here, […]

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