Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Asking the Sky

This is another of the changing light scenarios from the Trip West. 
I was fascinated by the shape of this butte.
And the cloudy light.

Tonight's poem is another from Bei Dao's book that I left on my end table in June.


tonight a confusion of rain
fresh breezes leaf through the book
dictionaries swell with implication
forcing me into submission

memorizing ancient poems as a child
I couldn't see what they meant
and stood at the abyss of explication
for punishment

bright moon sparse stars
out of those depths a teacher's hands
give directions to the lost
a shadow mocking our lives

people slide down the slope of
education on skis
their story
slides beyond national boundaries

after words slide beyond the book
the white page is pure amnesia
I wash my hands clean
and tear it apart, the rain stops

Bei Dao, translated by David Hinton
The Rose of Time; new and selected poems; 

edited by Eliot Weinberger, New Directions, 2010, page 121.

The poetry of Bei Dao is like a breath of fresh thought!
It causes one to think in all sorts of directions.
I am reminded ot the poem-memorization
common to Chinese culture for thousands of years.

Raindrops on the windshield, through Yellowstone,  turning to snow, two days ago.

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