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