The World Sighs

Out of the crowd you emerge,

clutching the notebook

that shelters your poems.

A light rain peppers the pages,

threatening to smear your index

of first lines: a premature end.

You squeeze nature by the neck,

demand a new climate that is kinder

to your work. Go, stake a legacy of calm.

Somewhere in the world, a tsunami

strikes, devastating homes and lives and spirit.

No food. Pure drinking water spills

over the lip of the Holy Grail. This is

my blood... poured out for many

for the forgiveness of sins.

Your poem cannot express the openness

of our age, the newness. It cannot concoct

a rule to move and live and have our being in art.


Pyramidal mountains hem in the monk’s house.

Fog swallows treetops, gray desecrates green.

Beyond the ridges, a bell rings. Full silence.

I wade through waves of narrowing waters.

Canyon walls crumble, rain down on my head.

Wounded, I wander skyward, spy on uneasy mortals.

Peach wine and tightly woven verses keep

the night off-balance and amused. Songs

nourish no one except the fellow poet, asleep.

Backward and forward, unending and finite,

contraries encroach upon contraries. The wise man

knows that each is both. Music will decide which yields.

Like a reed, the thinking man bends in the shallows

and drowns. No one mourns him, save the village idiot,

who loved the distant melody of his mellifluous voice.

Your notebook protrudes from a burrow of sand and sedge.

The cover beams purple in the late afternoon haze. I know

it contains treasures I will never own. Twenty words or less,

and Satori! Imagery tells the story with enlightened

delight. We must stop writing and paint. Four strokes with

a calligrapher’s brush: The world sighs, stays the same.

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