Poetryetc: A Brief History

 

From Outcry

(worked from the Chinese of Ruan Ji)


Under orchard
     peach and plum
     stray trampled paths,
but when wind burns sere
     the leaf
     the fall sets in.

Bright flowers fade,
     the thorn
     walks in the hall.

So saddle up and ride
     into the everlasting
     high sierras.

Your own time short, what form
     should love
     of wife and children take
when all across the level lands the grass
     stands white,
     cold darkens in?



***



A month
      to go
inside this summer
      furnace:

young leaves wilt,
       sweet resins sweat;
the cool clouds stream
      across the sky.

Seasons no sooner
      in than gone,
moon and the hunting sun
      run on.

Pacing, pacing
      desolate halls,
grief knowing
      no friends

can yet desire
      true company
could cancel
      want.

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***



Freshness arrives
    with the fall:
in the curtains
    crickets sing,

and mind turns
    fretful
as the heart
    grows dark;

words
    are withheld,
their sense
    suppressed.

Soft air
    unsettles
    these thin sleeves,
the moon sheds
    an unmitigated
    light.

Perched high
    the cock
crows in
    the dawn.

Carriage,
    take me home!



***



Polar
      cold
           marks terminus;
escape,
      even by ocean,
           has its end.

Our sun
      gone out,
           we stand
alone
      benighted
           and unkinged.

Better
      tend
           orchard
than forever
      watch
           your back,

yet see:
      even the vulgar
           sparrow
sits
      in someone's
           sights.

In a trice
      power slips
           the grasp;
armed men
      defile
           the grave.

Now  loyalty's
      exemplars
           all are dead,
tears
      cancel
           face.

Give me
      a purebred
           from the riverlands,
let me
      traverse
           my range.




 


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