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

2 comments on “the burden of ghosts

  1. adminclouds says:

    Reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple days ago about the weight of war. Posted it, although I wasn’t going to until the weight of your poem jogged my hesitancy. Just thinking it’s excruciating the wait of war too. This no less than Syria or Yemen and on and on unfortunately, but this Russian debacle is more personal for me and many others. The escalation potential too adds weight, gods help us all.

    • huzaifazoom says:

      My understanding – wishful as it might be – of the current war is that it should be ending soon. The larger warmongering, which feeds the father of all things, that somehow gets lost in wartime as in peace, and that is the power of lies. It is possible for poems to speak their truth in defiance and in hope.

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