Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

what poetry gives us

courtesy Google

courtesy Google

Today’s poem is actually a three-fer. I’ve been writing to prompts from NaPoWriMo, one of the national sites for National Poetry Writing Month. The poem today is written from yesterday’s prompt, which asked writers to do a riff on a poem (Black Stone Lying On A White Stone) by César Vallejo. To show those writers who might wonder how the heck you write from/ to another’s poem, NaPoWriMo offered a 2nd poem by Stephen Burt (A Nickel on Top of a Penny).

Advertisement

All of this is by way of remarking: poetry is another kind of web. Like Buddhism (you KNEW I was going to say that), like life. If all that I’ve learned from reading & writing poetry could be measured and sold? I’d be so rich! Oh wait ~ that’s the whole point of poetry…

Seriously? To look so closely at anything — poetry, a bee, the surface of a cup of hot tea — is to learn. Just seeing the moment clearly is, as all meditation teaches (in any faith tradition) a form of reverence for life.

So here is my poem today, a tribute to both poets, as well as my own childhood, and the differences that were obvious very early.

Lam Son Park, Saigon in 1960s, with Saigon Opera House in background Courtesy Google

Lam Son Park, Saigon in 1960s, with Saigon Opera House in background
Courtesy Google

Advertisement

Dust On a Tropical Breeze

after César Vallejo

 

Old Saigon will claim me

after I fold my wings, after decades of flight.

Probably on Monday moonday, Lundi, at the grande marché

I will collapse in feathery dust beside the leper at the gate.

 

I knew this even as a child, watching the leper’s outstretched hands

knew I was already half-erased, only a dusty ghost

like the hungry bụi đời[1] who float upon the wind.

I am half Saigon still.

 

‘She is gone,’ they will murmur, in breathy whispers.

My words will unravel like the silk of cocoons

Advertisement

and they will weave a sieve to catch the wind.

 

‘We didn’t mean to hurt her,’ they will say.

‘Who knew she would fall to dust?

She seemed so much more solid…’


[1] The Vietnamese term bụi đời means”dust of life”; it has come to refer to refugees vagrants, as well as Amerasian children left behind after the Việt Nam war.

Previous Posts

celebrating what's right
For some reason, if you're not unconditionally in love with America, you're not considered patriotic. In fact, I've been accused (more than once) of being ...

posted 5:37:10pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

grumpy days
In case you're wondering? I have no magic cure for grouchy days. Those days when every chore you have to do looms like Everest, and even the things ...

posted 2:51:19pm Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

secrets, closets, and religious judgment
I have a dear friend who is, almost certainly, gay. We never discuss this -- sexual behaviour isn't a normal topic of conversation in most friendships! I worry that my friend has no partner, that my friend's church and community are adamantly ...

posted 2:02:52pm Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

a surefire cure for the blues
Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly... But a trip to the Farmer's Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. ...

posted 5:29:43pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

home again, home again...or, the quilt vs bad fondue
So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we're home. And boy -- home seldom looked so ...

posted 9:58:02pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.