6 June 2014

Published June 4, 2014 by rochellewisoff


Friday Fictioneers Rules.


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Genre: Poetic Musing

Word Count: 95


He left delicate strokes of life

On rice paper.

Katsushika Hokusai embraced age,

Unshaken by his advancing years.

Seas swirled beneath his skillful fingers

As the eternal mountain loomed ahead.

Infinite wisdom rippled from the artist’s hand.


Here is her life.

Once young and wasteful,

Kishiko lights a candle.

Undimmed eyes stare into velvet darkness.

Sixty years flow behind her

As brilliant pathways loom ahead.

I am the artist.


Here is my life.

On the path,

Kindled by passion

Unafraid of the future.

Strength in my arms

And excitement in my steps,

I am Kishiko. 


Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. I find great comfort in this. To learn more about the prolific artist, click here.

116 comments on “6 June 2014

  • It’s a very nice piece Rochelle and it’s very comforting thought ‘ It’s never too late……’You put it beautifully ‘…..unshaken by his advancing age.’


    • Dear Sandra,

      There’s still fire in the furnace with creativity to burn. Hokusai was a prime example, wasn’t he?

      I’m really pleased you liked my foray into poetry.

      Thank you.




    • Dear Hamish,

      I think Hokusai, who went by several different names in his long lifetime, must’ve been a gentle soul. At any rate he was an amazing artist.

      Thank you for your comments and compliments. You’ve made my day.




  • I love the stripped down simplicity that says so much, and it really made me feel the contrast between art and life’s messiness, and how we try to wrangle that onto the page. The opening line really grabbed me and the last line is haunting.


  • Lovely Rochelle (No comma, that’s you, not the poem),
    Given the subtitle of your blog, I could see from the very first lines where this poem was going and felt like your anthem from beginning to end. I must admit, I didn’t know about Hokusai or Kishiko – I’ll be doing some research now. Thank you!



  • Never too late for anything artistic or creative, (or both). In fact, as we age, life experiences enrich our creative selves. Also, getting older is a gift that many are denied, so I agree that aging should be cherished and embraced. You put it into words very well indeed! Thank you for sharing.


  • Rochelle,

    This was beautiful and inspiring. It is never too late. And I know my voice has only become richer with knowledge and age. I am a child of the sea, born a Piscean, a metaphoric water baby. Your last paragraph was inspiration for me.

    On the path, (check)

    Kindled by passion (check)

    Unafraid of the future. (check)

    Strength in my arms (check)

    And excitement in my steps, (this one I’m still working on)

    Thank you-Dana


    • Dear Dana,

      I’m glad you caught “child of the sea”. It’s actually the meaning of Kishiko and why I chose the name for my Japanese alter ego. I’m actually a Virgo but a water baby nonetheless. It’s nice to know there are kindred spirits out there. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know how much my verse resonated with you.

      Thank you.




  • I loved the flow to this, Rochelle. It read as if each sentence was a delicate and gentle brush stroke. There is such a wonderful message within this as well, to trust the process. Like different species of trees, we all grow and blossom at different rates. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring, as always!


  • Dear Rochelle, Great poem. I read the link information about the artist that you supplied. He was very talented and had an interesting life. I read that most of his paintings were lost in a fire? So, if someone had an original Hokusai – it would be worth a fortune! Your poem was so moving and calming to the soul. Thanks Rochelle, Nan 🙂


    • Dear Nan,

      As soon as I read that Hokusai felt he did his most significant work after age 60 I knew where I had to go. I’m pleased that my poem worked for someone beside me. 😉 Thank you for your affirming comments.




  • Beautiful poetry, that truly matches the beauty of the painting! You have captured this photo so well, Rochelle, and what an inspiration Hokusai is– especially as I speed toward that number! Another wonderful piece of writing. I so look forward to your work each week, as well as our brief comments back and forth. 😉 Shabbat shalom.


    • Dear Dawn,

      Inside I still feel like a young woman in her twenties, then my mirror has the audacity to tell me otherwise. As I’ve passed that number and survived I take great comfort in the story of Hokusai.
      I’ll confess to you that I was a little shaky about posting this piece as it meant leaping out of my comfort zone.
      I, too, look forward to our exchanges and your work. I harbor the hope of one day meeting certain Friday Fictioneers in person. Count yourself among them.

      Shabbat Shalom,



      • Shabbat Shalom, Rochelle. I too look forward to meeting one day. I have a goal this year of trying to meet more bloggers… as I travel, I try to connect with folks I’ve gotten to know through writing. You are high on my list as well. 😉

        Hard to believe you’ve crossed that number! I hear you though, the mirror and what I think in my head aren’t the same! Have a wonderful weekend, writing friend. xo


  • The brevity of the lines made me read this slowly, and it read like waves washing in and out over the shore. Never stop trying new things, darling. You never know what you’re capable of until you try.


    • Dear EL,

      I guess you could call me a recent “convert.” A friend sent me a card for my birthday with the Great Wave on the front. I so love it I framed it. When Doug sent this photo I had to research the artist. So glad I did and glad to have brought back good memories for you.

      Thank you.




  • Simply beautiful, Rochelle. And such a comfort that 60 is the age at which to begin! 😉
    I too had that image on my wall as a child – I was fascinated by Japanese art such as this (and still am).


    • Dear Freya,

      As I told EL, I’ve only recently “discovered” Japanese art. I’m certainly fascinated with Hokusai and when I read his take on age…mine… I knew he was my story for the week. In many ways my life has been a bud and is only now opening.

      Thank you,




  • aloha Rochelle. i like the use of the three perspective grouping and your full sentence sense of poetry. playing and exploring with words and structure has fascinated me for a long time even tho i did not fully understand that this was what i was doing until recently. or at least this much of it to where i am now. it’s fun to see how others structure their word voice. aloha. r.


    • Dear Rick,

      I confess to being a logophile. I love to play with words. I don’t know a lot about poetry form and structure either, so this was a bit of uncharted water for me and I wasn’t sure how it would play out.
      It is fun to see how others interpret the prompts. I was hooked from the moment I discovered Friday Fictioneers, never dreaming I’d end up as facilitator.
      I’m pleased that my experimental foray into poetry worked for you. 😀




      • i suppose i have a touch of logophile in me as well. heck if i know how that happened as reading was a struggle for me for years. i’m still slow at it. i’m not all that knowledgeable about poetic forms or structures either. . . . haiku and related forms are something i’ve gone into simply because when something fascinates me i tend to explore and explore and explore until something else fascinates me. kid in the candy store of words maybe. . . . the more i read about haiku (and related forms) the more it clicks into place for me (at least right now).

        yes. explore and experiment on as far as i’m concerned. that is the fun part of life as i see it. aloha.


    • Dear Alice,

      I’m not sure what I could’ve done to make the transition in any different way. There’s a specific reason for the wording and the form. At any rate I’m pleased the rest of it worked for you and I’m also pleased that you feel comfortable enough to be honest.

      Thank you.




  • Oh, Rochelle!!!!!! I’ve used all the exclamation marks because I’m honestly finding it hard to put into words how creative and artistically exceptional this piece is. Your movement through the three persons is energizing and satisfying for your reader, and your imagery is eloquent — just eloquent. I could FEEL the pleasure of the artist swirling those seas with his own hands. The line that says Kishiko’s 60 years “flowed behind her” gives us the knowledge of a life well and honorably lived, which gives her the right to expect even more in the years ahead, and you could not have said it more perfectly. Then in the last stanza, I FEEL every line. You MUST write poetry for us more often!


  • Dear Rochelle, Positively outstanding poetry. It made my heart happy. Just because we get older it doesn’t mean we stop growing. You have most certainly proven to me that the best years are ahead of me. Thank you for that. Love, Renee


    • Dear Renee,

      In my early 40’s I nearly succeeded in my efforts to end it all. Thank God I didn’t. Life now is fuller and richer than it’s ever been.
      I’m pleased that my poem resonated with and encouraged you.
      Thank you. Your comments always mean a lot to me.




      • My darling woman, I want you to know that I for one am so glad that you didn’t end it all. How would I have ever lived this life without knowing you? You are an astonishing woman and I’m honored to call you my friend.

        You mean a lot to me.



  • Wonderful and inspiring. Made me lookup Katsushika Hokusai’s story. In his own words Hokusai writes: “ From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie. ”
    I thought I’d be a writer in my twenties, here I am a couple of decades later taking the craft a bit more seriously than I did then. I just hope I am getting started 🙂


    • Dear Subroto,

      You’re still just a youngster in my eyes.
      That particular Hokusai quote was the inspiration for my poem. In my early twenties I had no thoughts of being a writer. I barely made it out of my forties alive. 😉

      I’m pleased you liked my poem. It was something different for me and a little uncomfortable.




    • Dear Jessie,

      I’m pleased you liked my maiden voyage into Friday Fictioneers poetry. Learning about this great artist was a learning experience for me as well. As Robert Browning wrote, “The best is yet to be…”

      Thank you.




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