Yiling Ding

Rookie (1990)

The Scene Painter


The Japanese scene-painter
sits on his pebble garden
cross-legged, brush in hand.

The movements of his hands
form elegant arcs in the air,
his billowing sleeves are dancing.

All focus is on the delicacy
and purity of the segment of
the paper screen before him.
Everything else is smoke,
and truly, wisps of smoke from
the incense pot surround him.

They caress, them floating
temptations, carrying along poppy
and sandalwood scents,
all intoxicating, stimulating the
quiet painter so that his brush
is tingled furious with inspiration.

Stroke on stroke, drawing upon
the blood of insanity as its paint,
the scene is building, all glorious.

Within the oasis of calm, the
quiet eyes and stolid stones,
a scene of war builds like fire.

And then the painter's spent,
having painted away all the blood
of his madness. He returns to
the vague softness of the world
of smoke, that draws his mind into
ethereal eyes, so he sees not, no
longer, the firey war of his insanity
painted before his eyes, nor the
terrifying emptiness of his isolation.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Edited: Tuesday, May 03, 2011

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