True art is that place where we can attain separation from ourselves.
_ _ — Nishida Kitarou, Bi no Setsumei
In one hand the vision, reality
as experience, fluid, to be formed.
The other holds the tool, the seeking out,
inherent, true shape. Before you, object,
art, a spray of tiny fans, blue-bellied
under deep green. Two cones, each a rogue pea,
seeds. Brief earth, this taper rising—tree, grave,
image becomes essence—what you can, save.
Bern Mulvey is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection Deep Snow Country (Oberlin College Press, 2014), winner of the FIELD Poetry Prize. He has published poems, articles, and essays in English and Japanese, including recent work in The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, AGNI, Poetry, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants (2008), won the 2007 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. He also has published two chapbooks: The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005) and Character Readings (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012). He lives in Iwate, Japan. (updated 10/2017)