AFTER LEONARD DURSO’S “on reading Su Tung-p’o”

April 13, 2020

                                      Never arriving, what can we understand,

                                      and always leaving, what’s left to explain?

                                                  – Su Tung-p’o  (“After T’ao Ch’ien’s ‘Drinking Wine’”)


Leaving only the moment, I remain in this canyon’s swirl

of loose pieces, histories before me beckon memories

and how it’s changed in my lifetime to survive the storms

of wet and dry that forsake young skeletons of hillside families

to stand among the forgotten limbs at their feet.


I hold this landscape’s perfect smile of emerald green

in dreams, waiting for a glimpse of her velvet face,

wild skiffs of colored flowers entwined in her hair,

amid the planet’s storms for power, day and night—

always faulty propositions for the masses.


As I draw closer, leaving an uphill trail of time behind,

this place I have circumnavigated since I was a child

owns me—now that its desires have become mine.

My eyes ride the ridgelines at the edges of heaven

where I will rest easily when I finally arrive.

5 responses to “AFTER LEONARD DURSO’S “on reading Su Tung-p’o”

  1. Thank you. We’ve never met I’m a 72 year old dairy farmer and ham handed poet. I’ve lived on our farm my entire life, overlooking the Cayuga lake valley in upstate NY In 2009 I had the good fortune of stumbling onto one of your chap books in a bookstore window in Exeter while in California for a Holstein breeders convention. I’ve followed the drycrikjournal ever since I’m writing this simply to thank you Dan McGarr Your latest post has taken me back to a place I don’t visit nearly enough

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dan for the kind words. Always a pleasure to meet another of the same ilk where a string of words can take us to those places. Here’s Leonard’s link:


  2. Absolutely beautiful, John! One of your best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Kirkpatrick

    Louise and Dan right. Keep on!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. May we all rest easily upon arrival. Beautifully said, John.

    Liked by 1 person

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