From A Line By Kawabata
A solitary shadow in stillness
hoping for snow.
She stands with an invoice in her pocket
for services rendered poorly.
Are there two winds? There’s a ceiling of cloud
sliding slowly, and cirrus rushing elsewhere.
The day seems unsuited for business,
settling accounts. Yet it hints of results.
Just a moment ago
was a thousand years of insufficiency.
Now, there’s a scenic plenitude,
and the ache in her temples is passing.
Determined not to pay, she resents
the displeasure that ruins a day.
The pine needle is an emblem
of a thousand-year old scene:
the Enlightened Beggar pointing
at the substance of hoped-for things —
the crystalline scent of a cloud
about to relinquish its load.
The land will gain something infinite.
The sky will be freed of something infinite.
This landscape, so capable
of carrying what the sky delivers!
Then she asks: Why should I accept
the faulty work of this man?
Surely the snow is arriving,
piled deeply above, everything in balance.
But it’s no good. Such a foolish idea,
this perfect settling of snow.
One must deal with dissatisfaction,
and also, the clouds are breaking up,
the pallid-blue sky pushes through
and a flake of moon says you must pay.