Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Of Li Po Waking The Morning After, circa 1981
'Let me be forever drunk and never come to reason!
Sober men of olden days and sages are forgotten,
And only the great drinkers are famous for all time.' - Li Po
'We share life's joys when sober.
Drunk, each goes a separate way.' - Li Po
Waking up among these frail green things,
by the stream I hear the hornets singing.
I do not fear them but I fear the sting
of light as day creeps into my shade.
I have read of sad and joyful things
under last night's moon and now I weep
for the Immortals fading from light
to light with their pockets of pine bark
and resin to chew, their wine of sorrow
to drink in their, and my, sorrowful season.
I am homesick for the earth as
these old poets knew it,
a thin veil of mountains,
winter birds pecking at suet,
some girls dancing, and a wife,
some young sons to pull the reeds up
fishing and weeping for my exposed
wino bones while I sit, drunk, pronouncing
upon the deeds of state. Pitiable.
Let there be leaving taking and coming to,
drinking and drinking again,
playing fool to the wisdom of the ages,
remarking at those unkind sages
who always smack their lips for war.
Give me again the hilltop cave,
the pilgrim come to call at the door.
Fires I will then light for this age.
Who comes to me in this season for reason
besides the bee and the mite, the winding gourd?
I have sat here in one spot so long
I begin to lose my sight. Look!
The stream is growing a beard in the daylight!
No word can bring back the Immortals but for wino joys.
There is a blight upon our time. I have been faithful to it
tipping my cup. The present is sufficient but I admit
I am ready to go. My time has come.
Leave the world to the scoundrels!
[POET'S NOTE: I wrote the above poem in response to Li Po's famous poem, 'Alone And Drinking Under the Moon'. Here it is, by Li Po:
Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.
Photos of War - From The Encampment Of Heartstrife
'like unto like'
but do not say it
my forbidden simile
Photo of War - 1
no milk for her
child the nipple
droops a sad
thing while dogs
run wildly about
Photo of War - 2
Geese tell of return
the burning village
counts its embers
measured in hands
Photo of War - 3
there are treaties
Photo of War - 4
Photo of War - 5
only war which
makes him great
in one thing
what the horizon
safe keeps behind
of love, yes
Photo of War - 6
your top knot my hand
your long hair my
wildness of laps
in the vase
a clutch of stamens
arrival at last -
the fallen petal
of your navel
Photo of War - 7
that work of warriors -
needling of seams
I know the pattern well
so near to hand
let the dead bury
Photo of War - 8
sleeps upon my
I do not breathe
do not wish to disturb
trace in circles
but a sigh interrupted
Photo of War - 9
In your dream
boat slowly rises
the gentler subsiding
never again to go to war
Photo of War - 10
the men are heavily gathering
new arrows hot for flesh
only for yours I am
Photo of War - 11
a better world
between the teeth
on tips of tongues
on lip perimeters
strung by kisses
Photo of War - 12
for ink yearn
their brush strokes
strolls a realm
just on the other
side of light
thrills at motion so
slight framed in
in love with
is seen where
hides the wind
Photo of War - 13
to take a quiet supper
to hear the dipper spilling
the deep well
knowing a hand of dew
brings such sweetness wet, cool
From childhood our song:
Hurry awake sleepy bee
Softly sings the breeze
To sweetness we are called
when the sun high shall be
freshened with tears our parting
Photo of War - The Last Entry
behind the barred door wait
a lock of wound hair
silk pouch of my gated heart
it will be a hard arrow to pierce it
Po Chu-i From Far Away Thinks On His Angry Wife
Of Po Chu-i, Chinese Governor & Poet (772-846 CE) :
As one of his poems explains, he suffered from paralysis
at the end of his life, one leg becoming useless.
'A well-fed contentment...
is there no greater achievement in life? '
'Too late for you, Little Stinger, '
he carves it himself, again and again,
years now, upon the stone,
'A well-fed contentment...'
and all the rest, but in his
mind it is never done.
'Old Po, ' he thinks to himself,
writing another verse in his head,
his own epitaph upon the other side
of the jade-stone, 'now rides a wild
horse to the end of all roads.'
Weary with the business of state,
of commerce he now cares less
though once he was poor and his
firstborn son is dead as a result,
'Old wife will never let me forget.'
Her heavy face displaces among
clouds, swollen with hard tears
her sorrowful gaze calls for the
always hungry child who was lost
when they were poor, without work
and down on luck.
The frozen ground
reluctantly yields these many
years unmoved by tears slow to
name his little grave, too long unmarked.
It now wears a monument tall of finest jade.
'Of pleasing the inconsolable, '
he writes in his head upon
horseback, poems to be untangled,
brushed smooth, ink and quill of
miles stroked until there is some
rest, a cozy inn rare, more often
a tent pitched lending some simple
peace compared to the mansion in
the wealthy province, the ponds
full, the barns full, servants
many and busy, all the fruit from
miles traveled to keep a fragile
peace which needs constant mending.
He thinks of his gray wife.
'It is as it is and should be,
of love these conditions come
bringing many mouths the fuller
hearts to break for love and
life seek to be undone again
'Such is the life the Allotter
gives. Why complain when one
has the gift of a patient horse,
Wen Ding, Steady, an obedient,
'Why lament when eyes may
at beauty of all kinds still
rejoice; even of human woes
which break the heart much
music can be made, and without
'And without false pity, ' he sings,
'a coin given is heaven restored
until the next hunger pang, from
this friendship with strangers is
born, the best, of gentleness without
debt, untangling from mane to mind.'
'Untangling from mane to mind,
one takes real pleasure as they
come and, thanking the glad day,
banks them in the vaulted heart.'
Not given to self-pity, only
fond of nostalgic reminiscence,
he loves fabrics smooth, soft,
purchased in Yangshao where
he loves Spring's First Blossom
with whom he grew up, courting
her near the auspicious old well
of Silk Moths Aplenty.
He thinks of these and many things
upon his horse during the lonely
journey through difficult passages,
'Through difficult passages one
cannot avoid accumulating much dust, '
he composes out loud for the horse
to hear, 'perhaps our only wealth,
dear friend, of friendless miles.'
He rests awhile in the wide
orchard where bright plum flowers
rain, decides to unroll his pallet
to sleep beside the humming glade.
'Raiment, ' he writes in his sleepy head,
'of bees and leaves. An old man puts the
best plum in his sleeve to bring home
to his wife.'
'Why strive when nature is bounteous
and all ills can be made right with
wet sweetness? '
Regarding The Apple's History, A Theological Trifle - After Emily Dickinson
'It's good for the breath! '
With this she tempted Adam to death.
Properties of the apple are renowned since
their eating made it a greatly frowned upon thing.
Still, it is not without its lovers.
But for an apple's charm we would live boring lives,
never a fling or two to alarm the pear,
and we all know an apple will never harm
a teacher's pet, its fables to lure
the imagination, that Golden One's
strength to subvert us to the core.
Let's eat the jelly of sin and tell it!
William Tell's a good shot!
Let's split the Apple in the pot
and stew it for Eve's sly.
Even so our breath is sweet.
Tis the tart one of death
from which we'll all die.
Tis also true, though paradise is lost,
something is to be gained with apple sauce.