Posts Tagged ‘While Mr. Tao slept among the Petals of the Emperor’

While Mr. Tao slept among the Petals of the Emperor

January 31, 2012


While sitting in the tea house listening to the rain,
Mr. Tao would often simplify his sleep.
He’d pour a glass of wine and study all the words
he’d found inscribed in the wet garden sand.
Surely messages from the Bean-flower Emperor!
Or characters lost—lost in an empty visibility.
Just suppose this world has become a tableau vivant
and nothing is allowed to move ever again.
Or suppose, these poems he finds
are but the first line in a very long conversation
to be had even while he sleeps
among the petals of the Emperor.


When Mr. Tao went to swim in the glass sea,
the ocean’s passions were dark and forbidden to him.
Even your love was hidden by the waves.
It was like the fragile glass had been shattered,
like it was not to be a part of this world anymore.
The ocean seemed to play a single note
inside a symphony of complex sounds.
It’s why he had to swim for shore alone,
my dear, and why he almost drowned.
And why it rained all night last night—
even while Mr. Tao slept
among the petals of the Emperor.


This poem was ‘nudged’ in a certain direction by ‘New Pond Song 80’ by Tom D’Evelyn. They are, however, very different types of poems. I recommend his wholeheartedly.