Island Woman in Spring (poems from old notebooks, June 2009)

Here’s another old attempt to steal a poem from a  long dead Chinese poet—in this case, Li Bai or Li Po, whichever you prefer to call him—and bring it nearer in time and place. The original Chinese and a literal translation (not by me!) are below my version.

Island Woman in Spring (a version of Li Po’s Spring Longing, circa 740 CE)

When grass begins
to thread the north with green

the magnolia’s blossoms will have fallen here,
and its leaves will be full and green.

It’s then you’ll be homesick.
It’s then my guts will be cut to pieces.

But the spring wind today, like
like the hands and lips of a stranger,

stirs my silk curtains,
and whispers in my sheets.




Spring Thinking

Yen grasses
like bright green threads
Chin mulberry trees
hang down green branches
on Lord’s cherish
return days
these servant’s
cut guts times
spring wind not
mutual know
what affair enter
gauze silk curtain?

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
This entry was posted in Art is theft, Chinese poetry, Poem tweets, Poems from old notebooks, Poetry, Process, Spring and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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