A Lament

O restless heart! Sorrowful soul! Hungry for temporal purpose, Sitting alone in the dark American night. What is left to me? Laments and torments at the state of my world? Laments and torments at the erasure of my nations and people? Am I cursed to peace and passive witness? When do we act and how? … Continue reading A Lament

Windblown Grasses – Haiku

Windblown grasses All the world over, An ancient memorial to nameless soldiers. ... Dreams of fame and glory Soaked the fields of battle Soil and dust remain. ... Bleached bones On the side of the road - Rucksack full of haiku Atlanta - 2020 Painting: Edmund Kanoldt: View of the Campo d ' Hannibal at … Continue reading Windblown Grasses – Haiku

They Rage Against Your Strong Hand

The Saxon The Vandal The Roman The Celt The Greek The Frank They all live inside you Man of the West. The red in your beard The arch in your nose The blood in your veins Are all memorials to your violent past Memorials to your forgotten greatness. You are not barbaric, man of the … Continue reading They Rage Against Your Strong Hand

Norman and Saxon – Rudyard Kipling

Norman and Saxon A.D. 1100 My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is. But before you go over to rule it … Continue reading Norman and Saxon – Rudyard Kipling

The Country Clergy – R.S. Thomas

The Country Clergy I see them working in old rectories By the sun’s light, by candlelight. Venerable men, their black cloth A little dusty, a little green With holy mildew. And yet their skulls. Ripening over so many prayers, Toppled into the same grave With oafs and yokels. They left no books. Memorial to their … Continue reading The Country Clergy – R.S. Thomas

The Cossack’s Cradle Song – Mikhail Lermontov

Sleep my pretty child, Rock-a-bye, The bright moon silently looks Into thy cradle. I shall tell fairy-tales, I shall sing a song And fall asleep, thou, having closed thine eyes, Rock-a-bye. Over the stones ripples the Terek, The muddy wave splashes; The wicked Tchetchenian crawls on the shore Sharpens his dagger; But thy father is … Continue reading The Cossack’s Cradle Song – Mikhail Lermontov

Reply to a Poem, Matching the Form – 鱼玄机 – Yu Xuanji – Yu Hsuan Chi

The blood-red bustle, the purple muddle of this human world... alone and quiet, chanting, in the midst of sunlit scenery giving up wanting a lover or hoping for literary fame conceiving a wonderful poem in the midst of a fortified village plain flowers, so simple and right I'm ashamed to express my gratitude residing secluded, … Continue reading Reply to a Poem, Matching the Form – 鱼玄机 – Yu Xuanji – Yu Hsuan Chi

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #24

#24 A Poem For My Friend Zhang Li The winds of change are always blowing. An old enemy from my official days in Chongqing Now hides on the far side of my mountain. We wonder now what all our troubles were about. He has been making wine, we drink it every day, And we talk … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #24

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #23

#23 These chaotic days have turned my hair gray, My body grew old in a season, Hiding in these mountains, Penetrated to the bone by cold serenity. My body suffers, but my soul finds rest In the quiet frosty pines - Cold breath illuminated by the sunrise. I remember the greener days of my childhood, … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #23

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #22

#22 Official Duty The common people care nothing for intrigue Consumed by work all their days So they can afford to pay the Emperor's taxes. Merciless officials fill their coffers to overflowing. Official duty in these restless days Fills this tired poet with shame. The Analects talk of ruling justly But where, in all the … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #22

The Coming by R.S. Thomas

The Coming And God held in his hand a small globe. Look, he said, the son looked. Far off, as through water, he saw a scorched land of fierce color. The light burned there: crusted buildings cast their shadows; a bright serpent, a river uncoiled itself, radiant with slime. On a bare hill a bare … Continue reading The Coming by R.S. Thomas

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #21

#21 There is no way, there is no balance, All the world is chaos and injustice. Tradition insists that women are darkness, And men are lightness - but tradition is wrong. She was my light- my burning flower, Without her I reside in an eternal moonless night. Losing the last remnant of any love in … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #21

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #20

#20 There is a man who lives Halfway down the mountain. He and his young daughter of eight years Have joined me on walks by the river. She has taken an interest in my old pipa And I have taken her as a student. It is the greatest delight of my old age To have … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #20

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #19

#19 My hands no longer work like they used to Stiff and achy, my fingers hurt to move. I long for music, but my pipa sits unplayed. I’ve carried it with me some days, Hoping to meet someone on the road Who can play me a familiar tune, any tune. AD886 龙火花 Long HuoHua Born … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #19

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #18

#18 This lonely mountain house, Is the only place my heart can rest. I wake up in the cold morning light, And go walking the quiet wooded paths. Our country crumbles around us, But the world of men means little here. Emperors rise and fall; sons and fathers die, But the pines and peaks remain … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #18

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #17

#17 We boil spring water to make tea, Sitting on a grassy knoll above the water. The waterfall continues as it has always done, Ten thousand years with little change. How many lovers have sat as we have, Happy and content above this spring? I'm a cautious man, But this woman's a water dragon. She … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #17

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #16

#16 Dragons Scale incense fills the air, I watch her morning rituals from the bed. Two fools who found each other in this life, And yet she still finds the time to pray. Holy priestess of the mountains, Fragrant blossom of the most precarious peaks. She has been overlooked by so many men, But only … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #16

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #15

#15 Unable to Breathe Because of a Letter From the Capitol In my chambers, unable to breathe, All the color has left the world. A letter arrived from Chang’An today, I’ve read it a hundred times, The characters make no sense to my eyes, An official notice of execution. The magistrate tells me it is … Continue reading Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #15

Something Within The Heart

Something within the heart loves little things And holds them ever while great moments pass; The​ mind that shuns the pageantry​ of kings Will long remember how a blade of grass Held, in a drop of dew, the first faint glow Of daybreak in an April long since ended, Or how some casual footprint in … Continue reading Something Within The Heart

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #14

#14 A Poem From Chongqing Official duties have taken me so far from home, Down in this southern land of mountains and heat. Only a few hours after sunrise, And already all my clothes are wet. I think about a woman who rules my heart, Alone in her bed, night after night. I write poems … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #14

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #13

#13 Hua Shan Flower Mountain, beautiful and perilous How many faithful men have fallen from her face? Her elegance and danger make my heart race, Men weren’t meant to scale such peaks. My prayers are said between heavy breaths, At a lonely shrine on her western cliffs. Exhausted, I rest for the night in a … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #13

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #11

#11 We rowed out to an empty island on the Wei river, Mooring our boat to a fallen tree. She moved like water through the forest, Like a flood through my heart. The night was warm and bright, Lying on my blanket, we chanted poems to the stars. Naked, we woke up wet with morning … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #11

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #10

#10 The first days after the fields are planted, Peasant families all walk the river bank. Young boys show off their strength, Seeing who can climb the tallest trees. Young girls sit with their mothers, On bamboo mats in the grass. Five old men sit on a rotten log, Drinking cool wine and talking about … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #10

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #9

#9 The Great Flood (Written Upon Hearing About XinMei’s Death) The gods of the river are in a raging fury, Sending flood waters down upon my province. Everything I’ve ever known, Washed away into oblivion. My love, her husband, my village, her prison, Just memories now stolen by the void. Is it karma for our … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #9