Poetry - Astrid Cabral - Alexis Levitin

Hokusai and the Great Wave by  Astrid Cabral translated by  Alexis Levitin



Hokusai said to the wave:

quiet down, unquiet one.

Watery mare, restrain

your pawing thrust of hooves in air.

I want you to be an equestrian statue

with a crystal mane.


With the hands of a God, Hokusai

Places time behind bars

achieving the triumph of art.

Ink and paper tumble

in waves celebrating

his prowess all along the beach.


Devourer of trophies,

the sea goes on with its derision:

Oh, utopian presumption!

Oh, optical illusion!

Sooner or later, it will swallow up

these useless sheets of paper.