Saturday, November 30, 2013

Two poems from new collection: Listening for Silence

Cathedral of Chartres, Built in Silence

A few sounds linger:
masons tock granite, carts creak,
men grunt under loaded hods –
even the warblers cease their singing.

A workman sneezes,
those nearby look up – what a strange and marvelous noise.
The consumptives too try
to do their part,
swallowing their coughs.

The architect carries a board
and a knob of charcoal,
quick to sketch
what before was spoken.

Thirty-thousand labourers
hear thunder rumble
miles across the plain
and a nearby brook
unable to curb its babbling.

Seventeen Things Difficult to Accomplish

(A poem inspired by the first book of poetry – Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom by Sung Po-jen)
Capture a plum blossom in high wind
Carry the ant’s load
Hold the butterfly this side of the fence
Keep pace with the arrow
Know when the leaf will let go
Separate the sea from the tears of fish
Grow younger and younger
Keep the bee from its flower
Empty emptiness and count it
Split the wind in two
Stop the moon from shrinking
Prolong a night of love
Read the cloud entirely from beginning to end
Swallow a laugh
Retrace your steps in the river
Picture your face without a mirror.

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