Moon over Japan.
White butterfly moon!
The waters wash against the sacred islands
Where steps lead down to the sea,
Where neither death nor birth is permitted,
Where the heavy-lidded Buddhas dream
To the sound of the cuckoo's call,
The whitened mists lie adrift among the pines
And steal the color from the bright-leaved maples
On the mountains where the deer pasture and the monkeys sleep among the branches.
The white wings of moon-butterflies
Flicker down the streets of the city.
Brushing into darkness the useless wicks of round lanterns in the hands of girls.
This is the initial part of “Sky Lotus,” by Elizabeth J. Coatsworth, published in the July 1919 issue of Asia, “The American Magazine on the Orient,” published by the American Asiatic Association.