Archive for August, 2012

Leyden Jar

August 28, 2012

We don’t doubt clouds: how fast answers
will follow fast questions. How the ‘I’ cloud is a disguise
that raindrops wear to hide their souls inside
the rainbow; how we are only creatures
of reflection, not the recipients
of light and its refraction, a mystic
overlord the whole sky needs, friends, picnic
ruined or not. How our precipitance,
is a kind of theft we practice on ourselves
each day. How even the sun hurries the sky
and leaves the ground bereft and scarred except
for them, the clouds. It all seems so pointless.
How cloud scars are like lightning in a Leyden jar,
our abundance overburdening.

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Haunted House

August 21, 2012

Every house is either like an old
coroner, or it’s like a town crier
for the dead. Either there’s that old
toaster on the table, those spilled
oats on the tablecloth, even a sprouted
onion in the sink— the floor boards that always creak
when you step on them. Or:  the sunlight has pressed
the wallpaper roses into the plaster,
and that trace of a face in the windows—
yes, that great mysterious face, and the great
mysterious song she is always singing—
that must just be an echo in the chimney, or
an undigested  bit of potato, right?
Surely, nothing to lose sleep over. Right?

[ 7 ]

August 20, 2012

Addressing the sin
In summer: aestivation,
Evacuation.

No-mind Island

August 15, 2012

I would fain die a dry death.

I am rude to you. You, who do not need
my poetry; you, who think of words as fools,
who pays no attention to my transcriptions—
who would be the sun, I am sure. We must
speak of our time together like old friends,
my friend. Let’s fill the boat with wine.
Come, take your bait and hook—as if we are
again about to swim in the same river.

Be collected; no more amazement.

My friend, let’s fill the bowl with wine.
For here lies Cold Mountain, the poet that some
would say I was. Stick out your tongue.
Taste the breeze. Tell me what you see.
There never was a man named ‘Mountain’.
There never was a mountain named ‘Cold’.
The sparrows still circle overhead.
There never was a rut in this old road.

Keep to your cabins. You do assist the storm.

A searchlight of the soul and soil—
yet today vultures circle far above our heads
and the monks have started to chant
his predictions. It is as if he died
for song and beer, or for hidden treasure.
But suppose he died because he could do nothing else.
There is blood on his cushion.
Suppose he died for its rainbow.

A turn or two I’ll walk to still my beating mind.

A foundation for fools: a lust for consciousness.
What you can think about is thought, that’s all.
Just a quiet wind blowing through the pines:
thought is a rope to pull up after you have climbed
the mountain: thought is all we can bequeath.
Cold Mountain Road gives out where
confusions of ice outlast summer heat
and sun can’t thin mists of blindness.
*

Hey, Mountain, hey.

Han Shan must have been drinking. For he thought
there was a mountain growing in his backyard.
Look! Big rocks were being pushed up through the soil.
When he’d left his home on Cold Mountain,
he’d tried to be the perfect sage and disappear.
But now he was amazed to find Cold Mountain
being brought to him… Not so his neighbor,
Prospero. The spirits still obeyed.


* David Hinton’s translation. Cold Mountain. Classical Chinese  Poetry.  Gary Snyder: ‘Cold Mountain: there’s no through trail/ In summer, ice doesn’t melt/ The rising sun blurs in  swirling fog/

All other quotes are from The Tempest. The Arden Shakespeare.

This entry puts the sections together in the proper order.

[ Island ]

August 15, 2012

Hey, Mountain, hey.
—The Tempest 

Han Shan must have been drinking. For he thought
there was a mountain growing in his backyard.
Look! Big rocks were being pushed up through the soil.
When he’d left his home on Cold Mountain,
he’d tried to be the perfect sage and disappear.
But now he was amazed to find Cold Mountain
being brought to him… Not so his neighbor,
Prospero. The spirits still obeyed.

[ 6 ]

August 11, 2012

We both weave a web.
The spider’s is intricate.
Mine will last too long.

[ No-Mind ]

August 11, 2012

A turn or two I’ll walk to still my beating mind.
—The Tempest

A foundation for fools: a lust for consciousness.
What you can think about is thought, that’s all.
Just a quiet wind blowing through the pines:
thought is a rope to pull up after you have climbed
the mountain: thought is all we can bequeath.
Cold Mountain Road gives out where
confusions of ice outlast summer heat
and sun can’t thin mists of blindness.
*


* David Hinton’s translation. Cold Mountain. Classical Chinese  Poetry.  Gary Snyder: ‘Cold Mountain: there’s no through trail/ In summer, ice doesn’t melt/ The rising sun blurs in  swirling fog/

[ Death ]

August 9, 2012

Keep to your cabins. You do assist the storm.
—The Tempest

A searchlight of the soul and soil—
yet today vultures circle far above our heads
and the monks have started to chant
his predictions. It is as if he died
for song and beer, or for hidden treasure.
But suppose he died because he could do nothing else.
There is blood on his cushion.
Suppose he died for its rainbow.

[ Circle ]

August 7, 2012

Be collected; no more amazement.
—Shakespeare. The Tempest

My friend, let’s fill the bowl with wine.
For here lies Cold Mountain, the poet that some
would say I was. Stick out your tongue.
Taste the breeze. Tell me what you see.
There never was a man named ‘Mountain’.
There never was a mountain named ‘Cold’.
The sparrows still circle overhead.
There never was a rut in this old road.

[ One ]

August 4, 2012

I would fain die a dry death.
– Shakespeare, The Tempest

I am rude to you. You, who do not need
my poetry; you, who think of words as fools,
who pays no attention to my transcriptions—
who would be the sun, I am sure. We must
speak of our time together like old friends,
my friend. Let’s fill the boat with wine.
Come, take your bait and hook—as if we are
again about to swim in the same river.