The Muromachi Cranes
With outstretched wings the dancers pirouette.
Arching graceful necks
they open great green beaks
and join their voices in a wild duet.
Preening and strutting on a silken stage
the cranes are not dismayed
that painted feathers fade.
Immortals grow more ravishing with age.
Contentedly they wade the swirling ink
of their appointed pool
where spawning minnows school
and poets are prohibited to drink.
As the sun sets on snow peaks in the West
snow cranes contemplate
the chirps which emanate
from the lone egg sequestered in their nest.
Over that egg a four-toed foot is curled
as though a Taoist sage
in a thatched hermitage
slowly revolves the ovum of the world.