Archive for April 11th, 2013

11/04/2013

A Breath (A Stream)

 

The simple contact of the stream,

A touch of ice which fell as rain

And soaked the paws of hunting wolves.

A mix of mists condensed on ferns.

 

The breath of trees through ancient leaves

Which hid a thousand goshawk nests,

And oaks on oaks have hidden more,

And added streams to other streams.

 

Around the fish the waters flow,

And through the water spectrum’s bend,

And in those prisms histories meld,

And through those pasts the fish still breathe.

 

I run my fingers through the stream,

And all is now, and always was.

 

 

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11/04/2013

The Frozen River

 

To fish the lonely winter beck

He wears a summer hat of straw,

And walks for miles through snow and ice.

There is no other human trace.

 

At night he has a makeshift hut

Of bark and reeds and bended birch.

The fire he lights is cold by dawn.

He’ll stay until his brandy’s gone.

 

A heron has the further bank.

They eye each other with respect.

As snow is falling, heron flies,

And drags behind a trail of drops.

 

The river steams with freezing mist.

The old man’s breathing joins the cloud.

 

 

Poem after Liu Tsung Yuan

 

11/04/2013

Geneva, 1980

 

From where I lay I see myself.

The lake was full of tiny fish.

I thrust my foot into the shoal.

I feel it now: the empty cold.

 

No matter whether fast or slow,

The little fish remained untouched.

Across the lake the mountain peaks

Of France were white and distant shades.

 

Geneva’s haze was spreading south,

Towards the river flowing out,

I see the fountain, see the bridge,

And see the silver flash of fish.

 

I failed to see the truth that day:

The fish untouched, in fact touched me.

 

11/04/2013

The Halcyon Beasts

 

Above are creatures born of flies

Which stab and spike and reek of blood.

The tales all speak of nests they make

From neatly piled up bones and scales.

 

It’s said their wings are sky made flesh,

And dry as drought their awful skin.

It’s said they scream beyond all sound,

And move so high they breathe the clouds.

 

And if these creatures mark you out

There’s nothing you can do to hide.

No reedbed thick, no lily-pad

Will keep you safe, will save your life.

 

The creatures of the deathly air

Form rainbows from our world’s despair.

 

 

11/04/2013

The Water Lathe

 

From minds creating waterfalls,

In fields of buttercups and flies,

The start of summer crashes in,

And breaks the stream of forming words.

 

Those thoughts which capture pike in webs –

Suspended from the highest boughs –

Are linking up connections dead,

A million human years or more.

 

So summon fish and burst the banks,

And cast about the newborn springs.

The lathe is working hard on dreams,

To join the lakes and neural paths,

 

And everything connects and splits:

This heaven Earth has Eden streams.

 

 

for Ursula Le Guin