Seeing the blossoms on our cherry tree,
I thought of the strokes of your calligraphy
Riding on the air that was the page
Your brush was hovering over: stage by stage
A sudden blossoming of each character,
Of living letters, sprung from nowhere,
As though the sheet were both the bough and air.
If, in all this, your writing seemed a tree
Putting forth petals, what of your artistry,
How many centuries flowing through that arm?
One might have sworn each rapid touch was warm
With the life that was in you and others;
The brushwork at an end, the text still stirs
In this undecided light, this hesitating
English winter half-arrived at spring.

Charles Tomlinson

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 13 Number 1, on page 46
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