Shutters V

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The fifth of a series of twelve written at a shuttered window. Originally published in the anthology Terra Firma in 2004, and first posted here in 2014.

Shutters V

Corners coincide with
spheres, as from the corner of one’s
eye, or through the belt’s loop to its end.

And how, when I look through the window
may recognition delay the moment’s
gain? Water descends and the line begins moving,

always moving, for it is in motion that we express
the simplest desire, the closed hand in which light grows
when opened, the narrowest aperture laid bare.

The end, as always, chooses itself.

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Shutters IV

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The fourth in a series of twelve poems written at a shuttered window. Originally published in the anthology Terra Firma in 2004, and first posted here in 2014.

Shutters IV

Only in their upper extremities
may we find primacy,
blue being dominant and interspersed

with clouds, a map folded to join distant reaches.
But borders share more than edges. Their
shapes denote subtlety, the material

strength of reason and the untouchable,
an unmeasured practice brought to bear, like
depth of passion, or the concept of containment.

Width is merely a symptom of device.

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Shutters III

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The third piece of a group of twelve written at a desk fronting shuttered windows. The series originally appeared in the anthology Terra Firma, and was first posted here in 2014.

Shutters III

As they rise we see the change
in motion, abstractions returned
like wingless birds at the edge of a garden

where only shadows grow. Or, closing,
the declination provides a glimpse:
false densities, sudden

claims to the wind’s eye,
a stuttering at twilight,
the symptom of another mistaken turn.

Their lines, divided and concealed.

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Sheng-yu’s Lament (after Mei Yao-ch’en)

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Sheng-yu’s Lament (after Mei Yao-ch’en)

First heaven took my wife,
and now, my son.
These eyes will never dry
and my heart slowly turns to ash.
Rain seeps far into the earth
like a pearl dropped into the sea.
Swim deep and you’ll see the pearl,
dig in the earth and you’ll find water.
But when people return to the source,
we know they’re gone forever.
I touch my empty chest and ask, who
is that withered ghost in the mirror?

* * *

“Sheng-yu’s Lament” is included in my micro-chapbook, No Eye But The Moon’s, available via free download at Origami Poems Project.

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Heaven already take my wife
Again again take my son
Two eyes although not dry
(Disc) heart will want die
Rain fall enter earth in
Pearl sink enter sea deep
Enter sea can seek pearl
Dig earth can see water
Only person return source below
Through the ages know self (yes)
Touch breast now ask who
Emaciated mirror in ghost

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Shutters II: Another Oldie

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This is the second of a series of twelve pieces written at a desk in front of a shuttered window. I was taken with how a simple adjustment of the slats affected perception – that what I saw was only a disjointed portion of what there was to see. The series was originally published in the anthology Terra Firma, and made its first appearance on the blog in 2014.

Shutters II

Of them, children seem the least
affected, being closer to the earth’s
grasp. How they

double then recede with laughter,
little forms flitting by the embrasure
like unwary birds or small

dogs. They too arrive in innocence,
intent in that fragile moment of interest
and play, focus of another.

Still or moving, the eye captures them.

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Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran)

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Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran)

These quiet days are ending
and now I must leave.

I miss my home’s fragrant grasses
but will grieve at parting – we’ve

eased each other’s burdens on this road.
True friends are scarce in life.

I should just stay there alone, forever
behind the closed gate.

* * *

“Parting from Wang Wei” is included in my micro-chapbook, No Eye But The Moon’s, available via free download at Origami Poems Project.

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Quiet end what wait
Day day must go return
Wish seek fragrant grass go
Grieve with old friend separated
On road who mutual help
Understanding friend life this scarce
Only should observe solitude
Again close native area door

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Shutters

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Shutters

The apparent confinement, revealing
one’s body carried aloft,
or another’s, receding,

flows into the horizontal
and earns a new approach: torsos
divided and become

ornamental, forms varying so
as to relieve the eye, and
in the end, deceive.

In this place darkness blesses all.

* * *

This was the first of a series of twelve pieces written at a desk in front of a shuttered window. I was taken with how a simple adjustment of the slats affected perception – that what I saw was only a disjointed portion of what there was to see. The series originally appeared in the anthology Terra Firma in 2004, and made its appearance on the blog in 2014.

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