22 February 2006

Charles Wright

[from Negative Blue by Charles Wright]

Poem Half in the Manner of Li Ho

All things aspire to weightlessness,
                             some place beyond the lip of language,
Some silence, some zone of grace,

Sky white as raw silk,
                               opening mirror cold-sprung in the west,
Sunset like dead grass.

If God hurt the way we hurt,
                                         he, too, would be heart-sore,
Disconsolate, unappeasable.

Li Ho, the story goes, would leave home
Each day at dawn, riding a colt, a servant boy
                                                                   walking behind him,
An antique tapestry bag
Strapped to his back.
                               When inspiration struck, Ho would write
The lines down and drop them in the bag.
At night he’d go home and work the lines up into a poem,
No matter how disconnected and loose-leafed they were.
His mother once said,
“He won’t stop until he has vomited out his heart.”

[lines omitted]

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