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Hokusai Says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
Hokusai says says there is no end to seeing.  He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are. He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it is interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child, every one of us is ancient every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened. He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive -- shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees, wood is alive. Water is alive. Everything has its own life. Everything lives inside us. He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn't matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn't matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn't matter if you sit at home and stare at the ants on your veranda or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care. It matters that you feel. It matters that you notice. It matters that life lives through you. Contentment is life living through you. Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.
He says don't be afraid. Don't be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
- Roger Keyes

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Born in Edo, Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Roger Keyes is is an American professor of East Asian studies, an art historian and curator of Japanese art as well as a poet, and he ‘translated’ what he read in Hokusai’s paintings into this poem.

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