Monday, April 30, 2012

The Long Foam

Trees without leaves
Trees in flower
What is contained between
In the bud
Of imminent coexistence
May be a bubble or not
Thoughts escape their container

It is not always a crime
At least not self-inflicted
When a circle breaks
Into another circle

Many in the pond
Would argue old Bashō was
A secret ninja
So deft in composing
In rhythm with the end
Of all things
And seldom ripping throats

Soft, the hand reaches down
Subtle fingers to pluck
The sewing girl’s needle
From the paralyzed frog

Remember when we lay
On the banks of the river
Two holes in our shirt
From the snares we made
Out of reeds when we rubbed
Grass on our faces to see
What we’d look like older

Much later, the tired village opens
Its reflection in dank loam
Bilious pools and shorn casements
A less than stealthy resignation 

Froth issues from the frog’s mouth
Flecked blades of grass tiny petals
Slowly submerged in the foam
As the white bubbles grow
And alter the direction of the light
In each lenticular orb
So that our scene is myriad

Unsightly the ninja never stops for long
When the globose faces gather
To stare at the mortal hands operant
In the bubble of time a circle feracious

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Lake

Are we then never to rest in port a single day,
Driven ever onward to unknown shores,
Till at last we are swept away into eternal night
Never to return?

O lake, another year has galloped to its close
And she meant to see your lovely waves again,
But look, I sit here alone on the same rock
Where you first saw her.

Then, too, you moaned beneath the plunging crags,
Then, too, you slammed against their shattered faces,
And just like this the wind scattered your foam
At her precious feet.

That evening – do you recall?  Drifting in silence
Between water and sky, we could only hear
The rhythms of the rowers striking in unison
Your waves like a drum.

Suddenly, a new accent was heard on the earth,
Stunning the magic echoes of the shore:
The waves quieted, and the voice that I love
Spoke these syllables:

“O time! Interrupt your flight, and you, hours of happiness!
Interrupt your flow:
Permit us to savor the rapid delights of the best days
We will ever know!

Fly, fly for the unhappy multitude here on earth,
They implore you;
The hours you steal will blunt their hungry cares;
Forget the happy few.

It is useless to beg for a few seconds more,
Time eludes our fingers;
I tell the night:  pass more slowly; and already
It no longer lingers.

Let us love, now, now, while we live; it is late,
Hurry, let us enjoy!
We have no haven; time has no destination;
It slips away, we die.”

Jealous time, is it true, the delirious hours of love
That we gulped down like happiness in a bottle,
Do they depart from us at the same velocity
As unhappy days?

But may we not at least preserve their trace?
What! they are gone for good? are they totally lost?
Time gives, time takes away; and nothing is
Ever coming back.

Eternity, nothingness, the past, abyssal depths,
What have you done with the days you have devoured?
Speak:  will you give back to us the sublime joys
You stole like a kiss?

O lake! silent rocks! caverns! dark woods!
You who are spared by time, who are born anew,
Preserve that evening, beautiful nature, keep
Its memory alive!

Preserve it in your stillness and your storm,
Beautiful lake, and in the aspect of your smiling hills;
Let it imbue the black firs and savage peaks
That hang over you;

Let it dwell in the breeze that trembles in passing,
In the echoes from shore to shore repeating,
In the face of the silver orb that lights your water
With its soft pallor;

Let the crying of the wind, the sighing reeds,
The imperceptible perfumes of your embalmed air,
All we may hear, see, and smell, let it all declare:
They were once in love!

Alphonse de Lamartine (1820)

Monday, April 16, 2012


The moon shines down on the water
Even after the first time
Playing golf on an island
Small enough to meet you again
If these islands are a system
That can explain the distance
Between as something other
Than the slow geology
That brings us together
And apart so briefly
Shifting the focus of affection
To the drift to furtive glances
Through the telescope
(breakfast in bamboo huts
and tea with raw fish)
Then I will find a way
To send a backwards sign
By smoke by subtext
Or maybe by moon
When you are not watching
And I am not home

T Ceremony

We are a crowd in the clouded spaces
Eyes turned in every direction
Reporting from the general collection,
As it were, a painting hung in the east gallery
Up for forensic analysis
People mill and eddy in and out of frame
Red string delineates the lines of sight,
The path traced, the discharge, the flight
From each eye in the scene – and yet,
As the twine laces the gallery
No two lines intersect or meet

Let me sit in this room
And paint on its walls
Sleep in the temple
And copy, copy, copy
Then clean the floor, very