04 March 2008

Elizabeth Spires

[from Elizabeth Spires's Now the Green Blade Rises, 2002]

The Papermaker

          Last year's poverty was not yet true poverty.
          This year's poverty is at last true poverty.
          Last year there was nowhere to place the gimlet.
          This year the gimlet itself is gone.

                               — ZEN MONK HSIANG-YEN

In the hot heat of deep summer,
I dream of paper white as snow,
white winter paper,
drying in the hills.

The days repeat.
Each sheet is the first sheet,
alive, without ego, still,
until the poet speaks.

Here is the white field.
Here is the white field, waiting.
A black brush, a crow,
walks there, flies off.

What do I know?
The I disappearing
is the crow flying,
the clumsy crow.

Sweating, I wake,
holding nothing in my hands.
Again, I have dreamed
the dream of paper.

And what, you patiently ask,
is true poverty?
This sheet that I give you
upon which nothing is written.

Now the Green Blade Rises: Poems

No comments:

Post a Comment