Five Branch Tree

  • Think of being a judge or architect
    or trombonist, and do not worry whether
    thinking so makes it so. I overhear
    two men talking in another room; 
    I cannot transcribe the conversation
    word for word, but know if they are
    vexed or depressed, joyful or nostalgic.
    An elm leaf floats on a pond. 
    Look, a child wants to be a cardiologist
    then a cartographer, but wanting so
    does not make it so. It is not
    a question of copying out the Heart Sutra 
    in your own blood on an alabaster wall.
    It is not a question of grief or joy.
    But as a fetus grows and grows,
    as the autumn moon ripens the grapes, 
    greed and cruelty and hunger for power
    ripen us, enable us to grieve, act,
    laugh, shriek, see, see it all as
    the water on which the elm leaf floats. 
    --from 'Shooting Star'; Arthur Sze

  • In the Heart of Time
    -- Coral Bracho (trans by K. Pierpoint)

    Time lets its subtle depths
    half-open. (Doors
    shielding one another; pushing open, one to another; the spoors
    and traces of the sea.)  This autumn
    of kindling wood, drifts of leaves.  At its heart,
    forests of pleasure where the light shines through; its ivies, involved:
    light in leaf everywhere:  fire raked and rooted, a metallic flowering,
    and the finest moss,

    [via poetry translation centre]

  • He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato..................
    [Mosaic Promise; Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI].............

  • But who hath seen her wave her hand?
    Or at the casement seen her stand?
    Or is she known in all the land,
    ........The Lady of Shalott? 
    Only reapers, reaping early
    In among the bearded barley,
    Hear a song that echoes cheerly
    From the river winding clearly,
    ........Down to tower'd Camelot:
    And by the moon the reaper weary,
    Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
    Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy
    ........Lady of Shalott." 
    --from 'The Lady of Shalott'; Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • Today I am in cobwebs made of light ?
    Black-haired, fair-brown ?
    Mankind needs light and clear blue air
    And it needs bread and Elbrus snow. 
    And there is no one to consult with me,
    While I will hardly find one on my own:
    Not in the Urals, not in the Crimea ?
    There are no such transparent, weeping stones. 
    Mankind needs a poem mysteriously familiar,
    To be awakened by it all his days
    And in the sound of it to lave forever ?
    As in a flaxen curl, a nut-brown wave. 
    --Osip Mandelstam  (1937); trans by Ilya Bernstein