Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

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Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered

Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away

After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping

It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more

On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now

For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing

And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer

One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down

The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada

Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything

That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days

We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again

 

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10 thoughts on “Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

  1. Harry Miller

    I think this is quite good. The lack of punctuation and ‘syncopation’ between lines is challenging but effective. I fret over punctuation and line ‘integrity’ in my plodding poems; you’re better off putting them behind you.

    Reply
      1. Harry Miller

        I just found the lonely comma after Armor, on second reading. I also detected the Chinese origin of the lines describing the cicada and mantis, and, sure enough, went on to find your Li He and Li Bai poems. Blogging is vindicated tonight.

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