Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849

Pictures of 100 poems by 100 poets, explained by a Wet Nurse
Visipix.com proudly presents Hokusais last great series as complete as possible
(89 pictures) in facsimile quality in the original Oban-size 15 x 10 inch.


Poem number 47
Eikei Hoshi 10th century, priest

The original poem:
To the humble cot,
Overgrown with thick-leaved vines
In its loneliness,
Comes the dreary autumn time;--
And not even man is there.

A situational poem by HK:
The weather is fine, my family and my servant and also my horse are all quite happy. I will clean my saddle. The rice and the tobacco have been well tended to. The arrow is good to keep the birds at distance. But unknown to the others, deep in my heart the gloomy thoughts of autumn and the coming winter darken my mind.

Comment by HK:
Hokusais picture is the exact opposite of the poem. There are people and all is well. There is not the faintest reason for the faintest shadow. This fact might put gloom into the mind of the man. An nameless uneasiness with a desire to go away for a while. Nothing really dramatic.

Poem number 49
Onakatomi no Yoshinobu Ason 922-991 very high official

The original poem:
Like the warder's fires
At the Imperial gateway kept,--
Burning through the night,
Through the day in ashes dulled,--
Is the love aglow in me

A situational poem by HK:
It is midday now and I am sitting on top of a little hill, looking into the landscape thinking nothing. My love is glowing hidden by the ashes, like the fire of the lazy guardians in front tof the Imperial Palace. At night both fires will be fully ablaze.

Comment by HK:
In slang this is the "While its daytime nobody does nothing picture". The Emperors guards have absolutely nothing to guard. The fire has nothing to burn and is absolutely too lazy not to burn. The smoke does not know where to go. The cherry tree wonders if he should become taller or not. If he should make more blossoms or throw them all away. The brush loves such times. The poet must sit out his love passion until it is night again. The poets servant has not been told to do anything, not even if he should be breathing or not.

Poem number 50
Fujiwara no Yoshitaka 954-974, member of the influential Fujiware family

The original poem:
For thy precious sake,
Once my eager life itself
Was not dear to me.
But 'tis now my heart's desire
It may long, long years endure.

A situational poem by HK:
I had not been thinking about life and death. Now I have changed my mind. I enjoy beauty, poetry, good company, a hot bath and also luxury. I hope that a long life will be given to me.

Comment by HK:
The very young poet advocates hedonism without remorse. Considering that he died from smallpox at the age of 21 this was not wrong and it is sad to think of all he missed. Hokusai seems to indicate that a lot of smoke comes out of hedonism.

>> Poems (51 - 55)