Saturday, February 05, 2011

It seems these poets have nothing up their ample sleeves


Look at the plump, juicy …. [err] things. St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.

If I wrote a Chinese poem of the Sung Dynasty, I think that I should like to call it Reports examining the range and magnitude of alcohol’s harm to others highlight the importance of comprehending the largely hidden impact of alcohol on children and observe the wide range of harms experienced by children as a result of their parents’ drinking.

I believe that it would have achieve no small amount of success and esteem.

Reading An Anthology Of Chinese Poems Of The Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire The Length And Clarity Of Their Titles, by Billy Collins

It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel--Moved, I Wrote This Poem."

There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like "Vortex on a String,"
"The Horn of Neurosis," or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.

Instead, "I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall"
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.

And "Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors"
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat with a jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.

How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like his, and listen.

4 comments:

Uigei said...

Just stopped by to say G'day mate. Thank you for your comment to my post...http://dailyphotosofla...Los Angeles Daily Photo

Your photos are lovely
Uigei (Wanda)

Kris said...

G'day back!

Roddy said...

The things in St. Johns Park are I believe Persimmons.

Kris said...

That's what Jen said.