809 Poetry entries in Magazine
“Will nothing of my earthly fame endure?”
Will nothing of my earthly fame endure? Not even flowers, not even songs! What can my heart do? In vain we have sprung forth, we have come to be on earth. Let us enjoy ourselves, my friends, let us embrace here, as we walk the flowered earth. Let no one bring an end to the flowered earth, let no one bring an end to flowers and songs; they shall endure in the house of the Giver of Life. Earth is the place of the fleeting moment. Is it the same in the place where one...
“O, giver of life”
O, Giver of Life, you write with flowers, you give color with song, you make shade with song, for those who must live on earth. Later, you will destroy the eagles, the tigers for here on earth we live only in your book of paintings. With black ink, you will obliterate what was brotherhood, community, nobility. Your shadow falls on those who must live on earth. Romances de los señores de Nueva España fol. 35 In Nahuatl, eagles and tigers...
The Oracles of the Virgin
Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.--Oscar Wilde Buried inside us were the sounds of the words our parents managed to utter in the moment of intercourse before they fell silent at the wonder of budding life. Buried inside us were the sounds of the songs we heard in the cradle before our mothers had forgotten the oracles of the Virgin. Buried inside us were the sounds of the grinding of bones that blossomed as the...
Fragments from the year 1989
. . . Mute, my head covered, I stand with a pebble on my lips in front of a wall of fire and oblivion counted among the helpers of death . . . Take the ash from me, take the weight from me it's not my fault, let me carry to the other shore of the wound: penitence, pity . . . Dawn, the color of the Seine, color of wormwood and gall
Save Me, Guide Me
Save me, shield me, faithful journey, from my own lies and from our era. Protect me, you, Angel and Guardian, but you, White Cloud, guide me. Keep me from thunder, hurricane, immaculate truth, give me light. Don't overlook me, little dove, when you send us a sign from the heights. Forgive me, twilight, don't pierce me, spear of nightmares. Don't bless me with madness, wake me, morning star.
A Dove in the Distance
A dove in the distance fluttered, flitting through the forest— unable to recover she flew up, flustered, hovering, circling round her lover. She’d thought the thousand years to the Time of the End about to come and was confounded in her designs, and tormented by her lover, over the years was parted from Him—her soul descending...
Why is my beloved so haughty, and why is He so angry with me? Before Him why do I shake like a reed? He's forgotten how I walked in the wilderness after Him—and doesn't respond, though I plead. If He kills me still I will trust in Him. If He hides His face, to His goodness I'll turn. The Lord's favor to His servant will not alter— for how could the finest gold go dim? © Peter Cole. From The...
In the Mountains, Sent to Ch’an Brothers and Sisters
Dharma companions filling mountains, a sangha1 forms of itself: chanting, sitting ch'an2 stillness. Looking out from distant city walls, people see only white clouds. 1A community of Buddhist practitioners. 2Ch'an is the Chinese translation of dhyana, Sanskrit for "sitting meditation." The Ch'an (Zen) Buddhist sect takes that name because it focuses so resolutely on sitting meditation. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, forthcoming...
Mourning Yin Yao
Returning you to StoneTower Mountain, we bid farewell among ash-green pine and cyprus, then return home. Of your bones, now buried white cloud, this much remains forever: streams cascading empty toward human realms. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, forthcoming from New Directions.
Adrift on the Lake
Autumn sky illuminates itself all empty distances away toward far human realms, cranes off horizons of sand tracing its clarity into mountains beyond clouds. Crystalline waters quiet settling night. Moonlight leaving idleness everywhere ablaze, I trust myself to this lone paddle, this calm on and on, no return in sight. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, forthcoming from New Directions.
On Returning to WheelRim River
At the canyon's mouth, a far-off bell stirs. Woodcutters and fishermen scarcer still, sunset distant in these distant mountains, I verge on white clouds, returning alone. Frail water-chestnut vines never settle, and light cottonwood blossoms fly easily. Spring grass coloring the east ridge, all ravaged promise, I close my bramble gate. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, forthcoming from New Directions.