Featured Post

The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day (thinking of Mingy)

The poplar and the willow
Don’t have a thing on you
No sirree Mingy

Not in that narrow little spot
Between the cherry tree
And the Sach’s domain

Nor the little sparrow that
Flits just behind the crow

It’s Memorial Day weekend and
Already the potatoes need hoeing

Up and down the creek
Summer has just begun

A south-easterly breeze
Heralds the warming trend

Which to your grave
Shall bring a profusion of zinnias
And anemones
My dear friend

In memory
Of your sapient spirit
And distinctive
Dignified being

Drawing by Peter Rippon

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Solitary Goose

Usually I don't post translations of another poet's work on my blog. But every once in a while I make an exception. I guess it's when another poet's voice moves me so much that I feel need to make something of it my own

This is a poem by Du Fu written as he sailed down the Yangtze in the year 768 or 769 shortly before he died

A solitary goose
Neither drinks nor pecks
But flies in search
Of its long lost flock

Who will remember
This lonely wanderer
Set against the backdrop
Of a lowering sky

Gazing into the distance
And pondering its distress
You almost heave
An involuntary sigh

Amidst the cries
Of the loons and terns
Everywhere so confused

P.F.C. Martin Henry Levey

The things I meant
To tell my father but didn’t
Like the tastiest bits
Left on the plate
For one bad reason or another
Such matters left unsaid
Until it’s almost too late
Are among the reasons
I come to see you today
My dear cousin Marty
A private first class
Like none other
Part cousin part uncle
Part brother

To look into the unfaded truth
That pervades your blue eyes
I can’t imagine any other color
And finally in your presence
There’s no room for doubt
About the portent of
The nurse’s unhurried and
Skillful ministrations
For your impending blind date
As the cancer and strokes
Have almost run the table

In the white bag I brought
A few things of course
A red Gerber daisy
On the nightstand reposes
A plain slice of Junior’s cheesecake
In the fridge now waits

If your eyes were to open
As the moment draws near
I have not the slightest idea
What I’d manage to say
But just to sit near your
Lingering frame
With bruised skin
Pulled loosely over it
Yet still refusing to yield
Its most succulent part
That being your
Untrammeled heart
Every day in acknowledgment
Of its entanglement and
Consanguinity with
Those in close proximity
So liberal of spirit
You will never be undone

Thus tongue-tied
At your bedside I reach
For your hand and feel
It’s quickening pulse
So tongue tied or not
I behold your fading warmth
As it runs a final course
Through the veins
Of my very own body