Friday, April 30, 2010

Last day of April - National Poetry Month

I just finished reading Philip Dacey's The Paramour of the Moving Air. I like most of his very accessible poems which are mostly about familiar American landscape and topics. But included was the following: "Notes of an Ancient Chinese Poet", different from anything I've posted but fascinatingly cross-cultural.

1 When a new emperor
comes to power,
certain old poems quietly
revise themselves.

2. Shave the head
of your poem
lest it like what it sees
too much.

3. Who can write a poem about
blossoms falling in the wind
and mean only
blossoms falling in the wind?

4. Listen to the voice
of each dead poet as if
it were yours.
It is.

5. To say your poems by heart
is to know how a migratory
bird feels flying home.

6. Outside, the wind.
What poem can compete?
The one that strips
away dead thoughts.

7. Tea leaves
in hot water,
words steeped
in silence.

8, Snow on the mountain,
flowers in the valley,
one landscape.
Compose the poem
with icy detachment,
with simple heart.

9. You must learn
to pull the poem
up over your face
as you die.

4 comments:

Kass said...

Perfect poem for the last day of Poetry month!

Marie aka Grams said...

Lovely imagery. It reminds me a bit of the Blackbird poem by Wallace Stevens, only clearer. What are we going to do now that poetry month is over? I will surely miss it.

standing on my head said...

oh my. thank you for this. #4,5, and 8 hit me like a punch to the gut.

Jonas said...

5. To say your poems by heart
is to know how a migratory
bird feels flying home.


Oh, how I do loves me this!!! It's true. So very true. I've carried poems around with me for SO many years that they've become my koans.