By a Lake Near a Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters
Adaptations from Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese
Reading “Thoughts in Exile” by Su Tung P’o
After a Cold Ride North by the Lake
Today I sail north on black
Roads, wave at grazing caribou,
Listen to the honking geese above.
I’ve never known
How to climb above everyone else.
We still dream about Paris
Though it’s thousands of miles away.
Away from my work
I think often of poems.
Most poets I meet
Always want the next poem.
I doubt if we ever go back home.
I hope we can see more of the world.
After all these years what is it that I know
Besides knowing all that I don’t know?
After the longest ride
I’m grateful that I can
Still hear those honking geese.
Perched by a Window Overlooking a Mall on the Bay, I Look Over
Su Tung P’o’s “Looking From the Pavilion Over the Lake,
27th, 6th Month. Written While Drunk”
Early May and we’re still freezing.
Few will walk along the beach.
No one thinks of sailing.
Further south, waves of oil wash
Into the Delta as shiny ink.
To the north, smoke and
Ash float again across
The Continent. A tanker barely moves
Across the blue sky.
Sitting in an old Pumping Station along the Lakefront, I Wonder
What’s In Su Tung P’o’s “The Southern Room Over the River”
Each week, new colors for our bed.
I usually lock the doors, close all the blinds.
Under sheets, blankets, quilt, we seldom hear the crash of waves.
Sometimes I drift into the TV haze.
Sometimes I’m scared, sometimes I’ll dream of morgues all night.
We seldom sleep and snore all night.
I usually raise the heat, let light back in.
On Mondays I make my own waves.
After Reading the Monday Obits,
I Find Su Tung P’o’s “Epigram”
More men are throwing lines for fish.
Beneath the waves, they’ve never heard of frying.
Once dead we seldom reassure
Our friends of what they’ve heard.
Homebound by Downpours, I Wait for Better
Weather with Zac the Cat, and Read to Him
“At the Washing of My Son” by Su Tung P’o
We pretend our old cat
Can still hunt wild game even if
He just stalks tiny ants and summer moths.
Every day he bathes all day
And leaps with ease to perch.
DeWitt Clinton is Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, and lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He continues to write and publish short creative non-fiction and poetry in Wise Guys: An Online Magazine, hippocampus, Negative Capability, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous, and Stark: The Poetry Journal No. 1, which featured a “shortlisted” poem for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award.
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