nothing left but a river flowing on the borders of heaven
– Li Po (“On Yellow-Crane Tower, Farewell to
Meng Hao-jan Who’s Leaving for Yang-chou”)
A Chinese boat-float
like a leaf among starlit mists
would sell like hotcakes
for those with time and self-respect
an ascension yet from the page,
from discord and dissension,
and damn-near free.
How comes it that he wrote a book
of five thousand words?
translated by Arthur Waley (“Po Chü-I on Lao-tzü”)
“Let them talk,” old Tom Davis said,
“to see what they don’t know.”
has worked well-enough for me—
yet I write incessantly: lay bare
my innocence and ignorance
on recyclable paper no cowmen
dare read. Out here, the approach
to good or bad speaks for itself,
and is remembered—but in between,
the indomitable art on the wing
is humbling and leaves us speechless.
Already, I have said too much.
“Po Chü-I on Lao-tzü”