Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Introductory to Japan


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

(From Kéramos)

CRADLED and rocked in Eastern seas,

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 on Fujyama’s cone,

The midnight heaven so thickly 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.