Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gray Cloud, White Cloud; two gulls on a rock

In a long ago time there was a boat on the horizon, is it arriving? Has it already left? Tonight, another poem by Li-Young Lee.


When I look at the ocean, I see
a house in various stages of ruin and beginning

When I listen to the wind in the trees,
I hear--or is it someone inside me hears--
the far voice of a woman reading out loud
from a book that opens everywhere onto day.

Her voice makes a place, and the birds
go there carrying nothing but the sky.
When I think about the hills where I was born,
someone--is he inside me? Beside me?
Does he have a mother or father, brother or sister?

Is he my dismembered story
fed to the unvanquished roses?

Is he the rosebud packed in sleep and fire,
courted, tendered, herded toward the meeting foretold?

Which of us is awake tonight?
Which of us is the lamp? Which the shadow?

Someone who won't answer remembers laughter
that sires the rocks and trees,

that fetches in its ancient skirts
the fateful fruits and seeds.

From Book of My Nights, by Li-Young Lee, pages 46-47.

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