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

The Avian Liturgy

The early morning darkness isLit up by the simple prayers of the birds.Beautiful songs lifted up to the Logos.A primitive avian liturgySung every morning from Eden to Gethsemane.Praising the Creator of their delicate sky-held hearts.Condemning the arrogant daily,And lifting the spirit of the weary.Woodstock, USA, 2020Painting by: Deborah Newman

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 Last Byzantine

The Last Byzantine Barbarian hordes clamor at the gate. Their cannons have been pounding Day and night to turn our walls into dust. The last emperor of our mighty civilization Is putting on his armor, putting on his crown, one more time. The reckless sins of our forefathers Will be paid for this morning with … Continue reading The Last Byzantine

Red Cliffs I. – Su Shih

First Prose Poem On The Red Cliffs In the autumn of 1082, on the 16th of the seventh month, Master Su and his guests sailed in a boat below the Red Cliffs. Clear wind blew gently, the water was calm. The boaters raised their wine and poured for each other, reciting "The Bright Moon" and … Continue reading Red Cliffs I. – Su Shih

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

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 #12

#12 Perched on the cliffside, Overlooking a little mountain river. I shift my wine jug on the stone, Searching for a stable place to let it stand. Bare trees, and a cool breeze, A bird sings a spring song in the pines above. Such peace is rare in these uncertain days, But such beauty will … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #12

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

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #8

#8 The fortresses burn - blood flows everywhere, Birds feast on the ruins of a grand age. I seek solace from the violence in the mountain's mazes, Eating wild berries; my stomach aches with hunger. One moment you are feasting and warm, The next moment alone, cold, and hungry. I sit by an ancient and … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #8

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #5

#5 For Yu I sit on top of Old Pine Mountain Chanting her beautiful words. The only thing sweeter than her mouth And more intoxicating than her wine Was the sound of her voice reciting DuFu. For many years I thought The last great poetry died with Bai Juyi, But she could conquer any man … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #5

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #3

#3 The Emperor taxes the people without relent, Rumors of rebellion are whispered in the streets. By the time the eunuchs have taken what they want, There is hardly anything left to get through the winter. Mothers suffocate their babies in the night, Many sell their daughters to officials or whore houses for food. I … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #3

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #2

#2 For XinMei Her skin is as white and smooth as cream. Her hair, like a dark storm. She dances to an old mountain tune Wearing nothing but a white gauze dress. The cool air blows in through her open windows While we drink wine, and I write poems on her thigh. Her husband is … Continue reading Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #2

Dreams of the Tang Dynasty #1

#1 The moon shines like a phosphorescent pearl, Washing the pines and water in a silver glow. I've walked this wooded path many nights; Singing songs to the heavenly river above About this earthly river below. Sitting on my favorite rock, I write these words with water on stone, "How many years do I have … Continue reading Dreams of the Tang Dynasty #1

游崇真观南楼睹新及第题名处 Visiting the South Tower of Lofty-Truth Temple, I View the Newly Inscribed Names of Imperial Graduates – 鱼玄机 Yu Xuanji

游崇真观南楼, 睹新及第题名处 云峰满目放春晴, 历历银钩指下生。 自恨罗衣掩诗句, 举头空羡榜中名。 -鱼玄机 Visiting the South Tower of Lofty-Truth Temple, I view the newly inscribed names of Imperial Graduates Cloudy summits fill my eyes this fine spring day, I catch every silver stroke beneath my fingertips. How I hate this silk dress which conceals my poetry, I raise my head in … Continue reading 游崇真观南楼睹新及第题名处 Visiting the South Tower of Lofty-Truth Temple, I View the Newly Inscribed Names of Imperial Graduates – 鱼玄机 Yu Xuanji