A translation

Here I have tried my shaking hands at a translation, my first that I trust so far. I translated the poem, not the individual words or the Daoist, Buddhist, Confucianist allusions, which do not fit into English poetry. I kept a little rhythm, and the rhymes because the original does, and left the speaking voices ambiguous. Please let me know what you think.

王维. – 杂诗三首 – 赏析

Wang Wei: Three poems together; an appreciation.



On the side of the wide river along a road
Up from the nearby wharf our home awaits.
On water from southern cities many boats
ply the daily mail: to all but our own gates?



Kind Sir, from my home town you’ve come
Our news, you ought to know, please tell
Of the winter plums planted by the window
When leaving, did you see them budding well?



In cool air the plums have blossomed once again
In songs of spring the young birds start to coo
Our grass grows deep and greener, my heart fears
These plants may cross our threshold before you.

Posted in Chinese Poetry, Poetry, Wang Wei | 2 Comments

Spice Poems, First Round

As mentioned below, here are a few little verses concerning spices, which I hope are fun and nicely packaged, with a little poetic license taken, and some allusions to the kitchens included. Please enjoy, and leave any comments you like.

Spice Poems (First Draft)

Salt – humble crystal magic, preserves life
softens heat, melts ice and mmm, defines
taste, and a pinch in the kitchen.

Pepper – black and tiny spheres to grind upon
our dressing, eggs, just anything too bland,
what needs a little counter point; aha, a sneeze!

Garlic – pleated rows of bulbs for plucking
and then for stripping clothes from cloves
finally bringing pungent sharpness into life.

Ginger – here are candied jells, mixed with sweets,
but Oh! across the water it’s pounded into Kimchi,
baked in Chinese lemon fishes, sliced for pickles in Japan.

Tarragon – for making Bearnaise and Tartare
from French, le dragon herb lives ever in wine
to spice and surprise our quickie soups.

Basil – rich green leaves for Pesto, or to stop
boring the tongue with tomato sauces boiled;
basil gives the garlic strength and texture.

Posted in Poetry | 1 Comment

So, I don’t believe in the “prose poem”

But I recently just went off and wrote at breakneck speed about being a lover of words, and below is what i came up with. Perhaps we can make it into a short Edda or a long lament, or perhaps just a modern soliloquy. Here:

It is that I am loving words and eating the tarts at the afternoon teahouse of sentential gluttony. It is rapture on the face language, and English rises out of the fields, stands taller than three canopies of forest among her western rivals, and I will munch the sensibilities of language until i am capable of Shakespearean rhapsody even while asleep.

I do not want the politics and the purpose. What I need is the expression and beauty, and deeply, the showing of humanity as human. Not as dogma, not as that thing which is politically right or judicious; but as that thing which is humanly felt, born of care and love and longing. Expressed not efficiently or out of correct purpose, but expressed cleanly out of beauty and spoken with a lovers touch.

Once, with a group of students in China, there were questions and discussions and revolutionary analyses of Wang Wei, and it all came crashing into nothing when a child mentioned as a sideline, the open facts of linguistic dishevelment, that if you translate this pictograph as empty, then you do not understand zen. Can you see the literate crash into the wall of communist philology tempered by the craft of Confucius, Buddha, the generals, and now the use of English? We lost, surely, enlightenment when we borrowed from the Saxons, poles, germans, french, romans, and everyone except the asiatic thinkers.

But even without it we can still enjoy, adore, appreciate, be entertained, be pleased, cotton to, delight in, dig daddy O, dote on, drink in, and up, eat up, fancy, flip for, flip over, groove on, have fun, love, luxuriate in, pleasure in, rejoice in, relish, revel in, savor, savvy, step out, take to, wallow in and lust after words, bon mots, the fine and pleasant adventure of searching for a plot in Webster’s or the OED.

God, we need to love it muchly if we make our way with words.

Onward, onward and upward, build the edifice of sentences, paragraph, verse, and even creative ESL plaints form over the water. Ever wonder why the greatest cathedrals of English are all isolated by water from the threat of linguistic encroachment (England, Canada and the US, Australia)? They are creating the parable of the word, and extending the basis of poetic strength. Cheer them on and move to new heights yourselves, LOVERS OF WORDS!!!!!

For those of you who wish to participate, the forum is at: http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/loverofwords/

Posted in Poetry | 2 Comments

Spicy Poetry, and Help from Readers

As an idea for a poem (inscape, imagist, and sensuous), I think writing a series of couplets or verse (triplets at the most) about Spices would be interesting.

My brothers and I were talking about spices and cooking, and i got to thinking. My first shot was to think:

tarragon – for making bearnaise and tartare
from french, le dragon herb lives ever in wine
to spice our soups, just in time.

Or something, that’s just a quick idea. (Besides, i know that tarragon is from the French for Dragon), he he!

Now for the help. I’d like to write many of these, and want everyone to leave a quick comment saying which herb you want immortalized.

Please name any, and before the spring planting time (or, for oz and you tropical folks, pretty soon), I will compose a set of verses about spices, their uses, word history, flavors, particular foods and just a few more ideas.

Please help! Comment and tell me an herb you love, a spice you sigh about, a flavoring you cannot live without!

Thanks ever so much, then!

Posted in Poetry | 6 Comments

A try at a Blues song, and hope for rewrites from the masses.

A Blues (This will go unto the songwriting and blues pages when it is more satisfactory. Until then, please tell me what you would rewrite.)

Sing me a song about Rachel
I remember her so well

Sing a sweet song of Rachel
Oh Yes, I remember her well

Blonde hair and handsome body
Kisses straight from hell.

Dancin’ nightly to a downbeat
moving hot with flaming eyes

Dancin’ every night on Club Street
Oh so hot, my baby’s eyes

Even now her music takes my feet
Where her breathin’ was all sighs …

Bright eyes and easy smiling
fingers softly taking mine

Her wide eyes and easy smiling
shyly set her hand in mine

Flirting lightly as a feather
aching for her touch of wine

Rachel was as fair as fair
loved and never asked for walls

Oh Rachel always acted fair
She loved and without any walls

Fools thought this a holy joy
‘Til Rachel waved goodbye to all

I was dreamin’ of her last night
And spoke out loud her name

Dreamed of Rachel last night
called out, called out her name

My wife she woke and beat me
Rachel, please, come back and take the blame

Oh, Rachel please, come back and take my name
in this wide world come take my name!

Posted in Poetry | 3 Comments

Cities for you, readers, here is another one in Japan during Moon-watching Season.

Kyoto, Ancien Haute Couture of Modern Japan

It is only true in the evenings in August
cars desist, Shrines are lit, manners polished
The city of Kimono’d women fills again
ancient ghosts walk streets chattering
here they pass through gates 600 years ago
red silks rustle, parasols reflect yellow globes
servants, faithful since eternity, prepare tatami
sweet grass beckons on a hillside near
empty temples, forlorn and lone shrines
Samurai who walk in contemplation see
the pride of Kyoto in their finest color
arrayed like flowers on the hillside
watched by Empress and peasant here alike
the moon above polished bridges, bamboo
stands, quiet ponds, distant mountain shapes
The moon, the moon, the moon is rising now
and ghosts, ten thousand on the hillside sigh
down centuries, this ritual passes to children
Ghosts, shrines, golden silk and a pretty city
storing ancestors and remnants of historical desire.

Posted in Blogroll, City Poems, Poetry | 5 Comments

Cities again, here are two images of the Caribbean

Charlotte Amalie

The place to shop here is the Bishop Tutu Mall
… an occasional revolutionary parking lot
But in the heat, the slow pace of afternoons outside cemeteries
(New Orleans copied these, A Caribbean standard
… … almost Japanese with crowding)
stone upon stone upon white, aged, stone
hectic tourists chase all the birds away,
swarming the best headstones.

I flew in from St. Croix, before that Tortola, San Juan,
Some sweet line of sea and perfect blue
… And never rode a cruise ship so stood out among the tourists,
Who never entered any other way, they only ever cruise

Also, had more than four……hours to stay so I saw the place
Driving to Megan‘s Bay where the ships have (damn it) sailed
filled the sand with the smell of booze, retirement, and coppertone.

It is somewhat sobering to contemplate what was
… Frenchman’s reef could conjure a storm of pirate tales
lost now under concrete walks behind glass hotels
where mountainous canoes spew money, jobs,
… and the lesser hope of sharing and
locals cast lots for stripping riches.

Christiansted, US Virgin Islands

Here, we didn’t see Iguanas … but on the road
Horses bloomed like magic

Posted in Poetry | 5 Comments