Saturday, November 26, 2005

first twenty poems


her hair
mauve cloud
coiled bun
jade pinned

frowning brows
she wears

autumn wind on
drizzle out doors

plantain trees tall
too long night
out there


faroff mountains
layered away

mist on the lake’s
chill surface

leaves on the maple
crimson the heart

chrysanthemums bloom
and are gone

ganders stay
until their wings take them

past curtains
merest breeze, just the moon

spring in the jade pavilion

evening makes up
snow white faces
a file of young beauties
in the Spring palace
reed pipes, bamboo flutes
float on the air

who sprinkles the fragrance
into this breeze? Drunkenly
knocking at rails I’m steeped
in sentiments no light admits

therefore the candles stay unlit
clip clop of the moonlight
brings me home

song of the water clock at night

gold pin
rosy cheeks
a rendezvous
just heaven knew

fragrant wick
and weeping candle
a picture of our moods

tears moisten the embroidered pillow
blanket cold as night is deep
the water clock falls still

dream of Spring

over the strings the fingers
over the reed pipe breath
through the frosty bamboo
these purer than words

glance sidelong of the lovers parting

the house inside the rain
the banquet in the house
in Spring a dream
and yearning lingers

music brings me
winter’s dream –


gorgeous flowers
dim moonlight
thin mist

a stockinged tiptoe
to their tryst

he, in the south end
of the Painting Hall

she, into his arms
come trembling

how troublesome to meet
in shadows
how tender the moment
of hearts lit within

first of Spring

first of Spring
for pleasure

what floats in a cup of wine?
the flower

let us not whisper
of withering

it’s Spring – let’s drink to it
you beat the drum

I’ll bring the brush and ink

a fisherman

waves roll into snow
mute peaches make Spring

a pot of wine
a fishing pole

a mist
my vanishing

one oar
one boat

one line
one hook

flowers all over the isle

a full vessel

let me be

let me be

insects fond of flowers

I rambled by the riverside
mourning last of Spring

dark winds drowned the drizzle
and the lamps of Qing Ming

a night wrecked?
I won’t say so
the fat lady may sing

peaches and plums
whisper with laughter

moon in its cloud
comes to bed after

Spring met in mist

shy to meet Spring
now that youth’s passed
I was as shy before

bygones have gone by
grass grown over flowers
mist lies deep over all

beating clothes

sleepless in unending night
the empty hall falls to echoes

through a bamboo curtain
hear winter’s chill

not a frog sounds
but the mind won’t be still

another, sleepless
rises early
wakes the house

does to his clothes
what she dare not
do to the man

waking from a night alone

hair messy
make-up faded
brows frown like the far-away peaks

against the balustrade
delicate fingers
and touching the cheeks

how far tears fall

waking for a piss in the early hours

the palace sleeps

I put on a gown
for the moonlight

stood among the chill bamboo
here’s me – miniature landscape

waterfall of my own making
eyes high in the forest of leaves

seek a star

love lost and passion enduring

I cannot see the girl with the flute
but I know how it is to lie in her arms

flowers bow and lift their heads
in fits the scent of her skin comes to me

twilight in the jewelled glass
willows cast shadows night won’t dispel

it is a cruel breeze brings her to me
our moment in mind’s bubble yet

hung over

cherry blossoms strew the yard
an ivory bed cast in moonlight

hair loosed lustreless
bitterest yearning

tears fall on scant garments of love
so many papers to sign

after one of those endless imperial parties

the guests went home
the painted hall still hung
with its breezes
all the long night

Spring still
one girl waits in the attic
dozing when she’s not required

mirror and make-up both at the ready
still tipsy when the first birds wake her
when comes the whistling
of workmen outside

footsteps of Spring

the footsteps of Spring
are falling away
the long night of blossoms
endures through your sleep

I stayed awake
to outstare this spray
of cherries, to wait
for the light,
for your waking
for withering day

first intimation of winter

autumn too wearies
steps come crimson strewn
herbs from the high hills
fill up the temple
the Double Ninth arrives

and in the yard’s doorway
where kitchen smoke
contends with drizzle

wild geese fly by
only their lament
deathless, unchanging

ennui of Spring

jade pendants dishevelled
make-up marred, messy bun
I hold the stairs up leaning
just me and the scenery
two shadows lament

an easterly wind over the river runs
sun devouring the crests left of hills
Spring’s ennui – all fallen flowers
I wander in among reeds sounding
I can’t go on drinking like this

mourning for the season passed

every petal’s fallen
Spring’s once firm footing’s lost

those butterflies made pretty pairs
a cliché now and spent

the birds who sang
as smoke dispersed

from hazy grasslands
the traveller into sun and drought
casts a fond eye back


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