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Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Time to Let Pictures Do More Work (Mystery Poet Included)

Fifth mystery poet offering to Dog Ears Books
Since I've been excessively wordy lately, it seems only kind to give my small, loyal readership a little break for the weekend. Here, then, is a post with lots of pictures, leading off with the latest bit of mail from our mystery poet in Metro Detroit. 

As always, the variety of stamps is a lovely treat. The poem inside is the briefest yet and quite sad --

-- fittingly, since it is a mourning dove doing the singing.

A Japanese poet would appreciate this offering, don't you think? And that gives me the segue to my next group of pictures, showing a beautiful, beautiful book. 

KATSURA: A PRINCELY RETREAT. Photographs by Takeshi Nishikawa and text by Akira Naito. Translation by Charles S. Terry. Tokyo, New York & San Francisco: Kodansha International Ltd., 1977, 1st edition hardcover with photograph dust jacket in elegant slipcase (Japan; architecture; history) 

The text author, professor of architecture Akira Naito, writes of the images in this book,

Takeshi Nishikawa spent nearly five years taking the photographs reproduced here. Visiting Katsura countless times, in all seasons and climes, he has created a realistic visual record of what he saw, making no effort to play up features that might coincide with some pet theory or creed. Of necessity, he became familiar with the ordinary qualities of the palace, but at the same time he looked beyond these to the brilliantly imaginative touches that set Katsura apart from other architectural monuments. His Katsura is not one that can be seen in one or two visits, but rather a total Katsura, as it might be understood by one who lived there year in and year out.

In addition to beautiful photographs and informative text, detailing the complicated history of the palace and how its development relates to the aesthetic standards of the day, the book also contains 23 architectural drawings, based on the author’s own surveys.

Opening the cover and turning the pages of Katsura: A Princely Retreat is like opening the door to a magical world of incomparable beauty and peace. 

The photographs are large enough that 
one becomes instantly enthralled and quickly lost, transported to another time and place and way of life.

I am torn between the simple, spacious interiors and the green gardens outdoors, kissed by rain and mist.

Ah, the magic of books, of poetry, of art, and of post offices and bookstores! Oh, okay, yes, the blogosphere, too!


Dawn said...

Those are magical notes you get in the mail, and magical photos in the lovely book. I hope your mystery pen pal is not actually suffering any loss.

P. J. Grath said...

Concern was my first response to the poem, also, Dawn, but if you try to read it aloud, you will hear the mourning dove's soft cry in the sounds.

Kathy said...

Your post feels very Zen. Please count me as part of your loyal readership, even though I don't read every day. Am fascinated by your mystery pen pal.

P. J. Grath said...

The poem from Detroit and the images from Japan seem to belong together, don't they? When last I received a mystery poem and posted about it on December 2, one of the comments was from someone who said the poems were being received out in California, as well. The mystery has a long reach!

This latest poem is very brief, but the more I read it, the more it charms me.

dmarks said...

The mourning dove verse reminds me of the lyrics from a Stevie Nicks song:

"Just like the white winged dove...
Sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing...
Whoo... whoo... whoo...."

Whoo, indeed.

P. J. Grath said...

That’s nice. Mourning doves are always special to me because when my son was a toddler we had them around our Traverse City house, and he always called them, happily, “good morning doves.”

dmarks said...

A couple of weekends had a long discussion with some people about the difference between a dove and a pigeon. Nothing seemed cut-and-dried, and the dictionary definitions I found went against common usage.

The only thing one can say for sure is that you don't have white pigeons of peace, and it isn't doves that disrespect statues in big cities.

P. J. Grath said...

So I'm sure if you did all that research, dmarks, you know that another name for pigeon is rock dove.

dmarks said...

Yes, that term applies to the common city pigeon, which are more properly rock doves (the greyish, whitish ones often with iridescent necks and heads). But not of course to all pigeons.