math-bird song

and if the bird knew how to solve differential equations would
        she hurry up & build
        funeraries, motelsarais, warehousings,

or would she find ways to link flower with stone, leafred
        with riverbed & heartsink
        with lamentories, joylings, trepids?


tethered night

to think the night kind is to believe in
      song    say it is kind, but not so loud

in an other song, you can hear it think
      but not as loud    it is kind, this night

with lost dream and lost language    bereft 
       song, lost to kindness and dream -

night with its many deaths is a song
       read with the eye of a pen dipped

in unfettered ink  with a hunger leavened
       and fit to taste - remnants of what

I knew but longed to dislodge from
       arid haunts & inarticulate wounds -

if the tethering of night to stillness
        were a given, I could believe in

riversand enough to conjure up the
        absence of sky - if imaginings 

of the tether were to roam skysand
        I could believe again in riversong -

the burden of ghosts

how much burden do the ghosts of everyday scars
         carry?    the faint smell of their nonpresence is

all it takes to weigh down their mourn     theirs
          is the past and the circle    theirs is the next

day and the next rounding off the circle      the scars
          of nonbeing go about their childlike ways

tracking noons fearing the thought of the coming
          dark and the next     & the weight of it all - 

In gorges, dragons voice age-old explanations.
In pools ten hundred feet deep, you hear them.

Cruel waves keep strict accounts, drinking
blood to nurture children and grandchildren,

but without ancient Kao Yao’s gentle justice,
feasting on prison-drowned spirits is empty.

Something there, mystery haunting darkness,
the futile talk of ghosts goes on and ever on,

gorges hearing cascades cry lament, gorges
mourning widowed gibbons. There’s nothing

human in the sound of gorges, gorges where
blades of churning water slice at themselves,

and now, sage hearts all hidden away here,
who marshals these bitter and drowned pleas?

- Meng Chiao, from Laments of the Gorges