The Monday subway station’s

On the platform, reading - 96724309_985b8acd3f_z

The Monday subway station’s
full of faces
fair as flowers

– See!

Then the rush, the push,
the train’s electric flexing
the shut doors’ hush

the deliberate departure

and upon the vacant station
silence settles:

the bough stripped of its petals

 

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Drinking the driven storm, the sturdy apple

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Drinking the driven storm, the sturdy apple
Dances, between sky and earth, her spring-young leaves.
Knowing no purpose, knowing only season,
Her spring-young leaves, storm-driven, dapple
Earth and sky; all that my eye perceives
Dances. My eye drinks in the apple’s spring-
Young leaves, her dance that has no reason:
Only the storm, driving each dappled thing.

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This poetic form is called san san, which means “three three” in Chinese (and is a term of art in the game Go). It rhymes as you see (a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d), and also repeats, three times, each of three terms or images; here, the driven storm; the spring-young leaves; the dance.

Here are a few more of these.

 

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In Memoriam (two translations from the English)

Dear reader, I’m curious: of the versions below, which do you prefer (if either), and why?

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I.

They built a grand monument to the dead
And the place where the stone was quarried
Soon filled up with rainwater
And the young couples would meet there.

II.

Built to commemorate the dead
This palace stands, untenanted.

By the still pool in the quarry pit
The lovers sometimes come to sit.

 

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One day this

Free Spirit
One day this
will be recalled (if
at all) by you
as a golden
day a beach of pure
sand and flocks of
majestic white birds that
spreading curved wings
rose at first
imperceptibly then
inexorably into
aching flight as
we watched them knowing
all would be well and

no one will be left to say
that’s
inaccurate
since my present vision of
this will perish
lacking the heft and
polish of history but

for the record here
is what breaks my present heart this
little girl now running across
low tide’s litter now daring
those greasy waves now
scattering the dirty gulls that are
yammering and (I can
see it all
now) about to
take off
clumsily into an
implacable
future.

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Monday 11 a.m.

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I too have sentimental leanings,
Inchoate sensibilities,
Vague yearnings,
And feel the pull of those
Old, stupid, useful words, like
Love; dreams; desire;
From which nothing can save us
But the things themselves:

On our kitchen table lie
The blown still-moist petals
Of Friday’s flowers.

 

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On Dreams

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Two gates of sleep; the one of horn, the one of ivory.
Odyssey XIX, 560-565

Undermined, toppled, then half washed away
By memory’s undertow,
The gates of sleep are wrack by day;
Dreams true or false to miscellany go.

 

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The First Time White-Corn’s-Child Came to the House Made of Dawn

2920375421_5eac7d6df3_bStumbling through the grounds at sunrise,
With dew-damp pollen clinging to my ragged pants cuffs
And having left all my friends behind,
I found myself here.

Beauty amazes me!
Charms hanging in the doorway!
Beauty amazes me!
I’ll dance with the altar-cloth!

Beautiful all that lies before me!
Beautiful all that creeps up behind!
Beautiful, every side I turn to!
I turn, and turn, and turn!

So here I am wandering around
In the house of happiness,
In the house of long life
That no one enters alive.

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