Poems from old and yellowed
Chinese scrolls make me sad,
make me sad: stored in shiny,
lacquered boxes of perfumed teak,
they crumble when unrolled.
And the hands that must have written
Chinese thoughts upon the rolls:
little, leathern, patient hands,
painting poems -- stroke and stroke
and careful, delicate stroke --
stopping, meanwhile, to twirl
a waxed mustache --
for someone else, a foreigner,
who cannot understand, to read,
mull over, and be sad.
And this when Chinese thoughts
are gone, and tiny, trembling
Chinese hands are dust.