Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

from Kéramos (1878)

Cradled and rocked in Eastern sea,
The islands of the Japanese
Beneath me lie; o’er lake and plain
The stork, the heron, and the crane
Through the clear realms of azure drift,
And on the hillside I can see
The villages of Imari,
Whose thronged and flaming workshops lift
Their twisted columns of smoke on high,
Cloud cloisters that in ruins lie,
With sunshine streaming through each rift,
And broken arches of blue sky.

All the bright flowers that fill the land,
Ripple of waves on rock or sand,
The snow of Fusiyama’s cone,
The midnight heaven so quickly sown
With constellations of bright stars,
The leaves that rustle, the reeds that make
A whisper by each stream and lake,
The saffron dawn, the sunset red,
Are painted on these lovely jars;
Again the skylark sings, again
The stork, the heron, and the crane
Float through the azure overhead,
The counterfeit and counterpart
Of Nature reproduced in Art.

‘Kéramos’ first appeared in Kéramos and Other Poems (Boston: Houghton, Osgood, 1878). Among many Longfellow titles that remain in print are Kéramos (available in the US here, the UK here), The Complete Poetical Works (in the US here), and Complete Poems (in the UK here)

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