Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
 print version

Alphabet of Stones
from Alphabets of Desire and Sorrow: A Book of Imaginary Colophons

When in Kyoto the earth’s lintel cracked, Tadashi Murashima of the fire brigade—standing with his ax in the house belonging to Mr. Naoki, Goplayer of the sixth rank—saw amid the ruins black and white stones scattered as though by a careless sleeve. Outside the tumbled wall, a momentary wind swelling a chestnut tree turned (according to laws mistaken for chance) a portion of the leaves from light to shade, forming black-and-white patterns as if in imitation of the Go stones at rest, provisionally, on a tatami mat. Murashima knew in an instant as imperious as dawn that an upheaval of hills, a rearrangement of stones, or an agitation of chestnut leaves fulfills the wish present in all things to move. After reading his book The Illusion of Stillness, one recalls only a restless procession of black characters across white pages.    

return to top