Monday, August 16, 2010

Adventures in Asia

On Reading Chinese Poetry

In translation the words
are the same. The moon
shines the same on Brooklyn
and Xi'an, and boats at night
on lakes are much the same.

But the spirit of the Chinese moon
is world away from New York.
The sound of boats on water
changes when it is played against
Chinese and southern moon.


Ah, again quiet
my ears ring with the hollow
memory of sound

In my mind the age
is always ten years ago--
but never enough

Do you know what to
say sixty seconds before?
Try listening.

What would God say if
He were watching this sunset?
--I've outdone myself.

What do you say to
skin a half century old
and yet still supple?

What spring is this: brown
bugs breed and fill the house, warm
weather waits, unlit?

He stretches gray and
white against a blue blanket,
mere seeming to rest.

Where have paths of thought
left their uneasy traces?
Such a barren place.

The words have gone far
away--not like the winter
birds that soon return.

The landscape is white,
the color of death and sin--
bleached and bone dead

What would I write if
I could write anything? The
smooth pebble firmness. . .


Perhaps that is a haiku overload and it needs to be parsed and allied with imagery for it to have the proper effect.

Or not.

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