from Spring Songs (12)
Midnight. In a corner of a room
a few days away, a half century crouches.
In the dark the corners of the years round up
certainty into the smooth black mast
against which direction flaps without words,
a trunk removed from its roots.
In the morning it is the maple and its shadow
unwinding along riverways of air and light.
The maple is old but the leaves always young,
the hours of the year, the half million
minutes through which we extend and end,
define the canopy of entirety itself by the shape
of what we miss. We shed time but are shaped by it;
wine on a quiet night, before crickets.
This entry was posted in
New Writing, Poetry and tagged crickets, haiku, JS, leaves, maple, not haiku, poetry, spring, spring song, time, unregulated verse on . May 20, 2015
In the night the unseen stretches out.
Grass growing just before dawn.
I think I see the moon in my window
but it is the ceiling lamp’s reflection.
At lights out, the windowframe relaxes.
We spread downhill, and into the air a giant
centimeter. The real moon shakes hands
with every cloud. Even without eyes it
does not miss a single one. When morning
light crawls down from the treetops
and you are out with the dogs the grass
cannot believe how much you have grown.
Nothing gets done by paying attention.
This entry was posted in
Poetry and tagged dark reactions, dreams, grass growing, haiku, healing, JS, not haiku, poetry, spring, unregulated verse on . May 10, 2015
from Spring Songs (11)
Upstairs in my old house I find a bat
sleeping off a warm May morning
I usher the cats from the room
open the windows and let him rest
Toward dusk I come back his eyes are open
so I gather him up in a pitcher and in slow
motion pour him into the cooling air
from Spring Songs (10)
No moon. God has no early evening plans.
Oak and walnut leaves spread across the neighborhood,
A planet whirs like a lime between the new leaves.
A bright spot. A memory. Gone in the morning.
If there really is a time to be still it is now: a cell
splits, reforms, comes whole, continues,
is cut out, spins like a leaf into a space
of no-being, hard matter. Alone on a bed
you will suffer the speed of being observed
as from afar while the world spins, they lean away,
your loved ones, into the dark, come round again.
In the mean time, when your light winks or is blocked
by the slightest breeze against a leaf, we will know
and run with you to keep you in sight, at the speed
of the day’s suffering itself to be tracked by shadows,
and together find the time to be still.
from Spring Songs (9)
The weather came from the east this time
as low as the sun in the west and the sun
And the weather crossed swords over young leaves
glowing green against gray. And the tulips held.
The gray face came down and looked into the street’s eyes
and this was the first of May. Swallows follow a storm
like they have just won an argument with God
and the prize, so small we can’t see it, is everywhere.
from Spring Songs (8)
Nothing more can happen in April so I am waiting
The rain is waiting too clouds simmering in the south
The grass wants to touch you but looks away waiting
The buildings with their hands in their pockets
Gather quietly but keep a respectful distance
the afternoons light as if held up by balloons
The month has filled out the world so much its last
day will be empty it will need a day to decompress
The last hours gather around you like referees
watching an instant replay because nothing more
can happen: you have to compress the month
in your mind while the days decompress
so quickly that your memory leaps in slow motion
and the hours nod and blow their whistles
A string stretching across the stars and sky draws closer
a jump-rope in slow motion at the top of its arc
Just before you hear the sound of its rasp
on the sidewalk you must skip casually
into May your soul barely leaving the ground
because it is all so light now and you want to come back
Note: Mary Tang, a poet I follow and who has been translating my Spring Songs series into Chinese, wrote recently about her grandmother’s life and death, and after reading those posts on her blog I was moved to write the poem below. It is posted with her permission, and directly below is her translation.
If you die on a holiday expect to be buried without ceremony
in the vacant space between an extended celebration
and getting back to business as usual but there is nothing
more usual than the dead Above her unclaimed grave
power lines have been hung where a marker might
have been a tree is growing It may only be growing
because those lines opened up the sky for it to grow
from the matter forgotten by sons but the tree’s leaves
are her prayer flags and the wind rushing the gap
are all the other sons sweeping her grave, they remember
that we were all once inanimate matter we were all
each other’s mother even unintelligent motion
generates respect and love the hum of the old world’s
roots is louder than a foot print on the moon
(c) Mary Tang 2015