The Village On The Water IV
Thump, thump: starved sinews tightening --
Fish contorting in the bilge beneath the gunwale;
Lidless, bulging, reddened eyes, swivelling upwards,
Protruding horribly from the straining sockets,
Express stupefied amazement at inconceivable
Of a former world pulled inside out.
The opening and shutting of mouths, almost as if
Attempting to fashion words for the injustices of
Such a cruel, monstrous act.
Desperately trying to draw on that which can
No longer be found.
Conscious of this agonized, suffocating death
They endure, we are prompted
To seek endorsement from Gonggong...
Lest we should suffer his violent and
Soon the nameless thing that comes to strangle
All living things
Will come searching for our breath also...
But not this day. Today, to satisfy urgent needs...
These fish are compelled to give up on theirs.
Choruses of bird song. And orioles serenade
"Tie up your boats", the birds sing, "we will
Over your mornings catch"...they too are
Alert to the shaded heron.
An extending, accentuated, placing of the feet;
Huddled and wrapped in obsequious and
Ever vigilant -- ever cautious;
Stalks with painstaking deliberation of a
Creeping Snow Leopard;
Headband more blacker than Summer's
In the narrowing slit of the pupil -- an intense,
Pitiless as the murderous assassin that steals
Through the unlit nights.
But we know his artful ways...and stow away
The hard-earned prize.
Now we will sit cross legged and eat
Hot-dry noodles, steamed wuchang and pork-rib
Soup with lotus root;
And, raising smooth, round, porcelain drinking
Cups, decorated with brightly fired colours,
To our salty lips, sip sweetened green-tea
Made with water from the blessed Toad Hole;
After having drank from this rare hole,
Lu Yu, Left letters...
And declared it --
"The Fourth Spring Under Heaven!"
My wife, shuffling about the floor as a timid,
Sighing absently in that abstract manner, softly
Chiding and scolding unto herself...
She has a secret she has not yet disclosed of me.
It will be a boy...the priest in the orange robe
Foretold of this.
The boy shall fulfil his earthly duty to his
Heavenly ancestors as I have done...
And as all those who have come before me
Have so done;
Fathering children is an honourable duty...
And must, therefore, be considered higher
Than mere obligation.
She will tell me when she is ready to tell me...
The only permitted privilege for a female.
I am well acquainted with the rules of the
Game...having played this game before.
Outside, flattened evening stretching
Faraway behind fading purple hills;
Just as easily be another clearing dawning.
Drowsy, lapping waters; its lulling swell
Putting me in mind of contented sleep
When visited upon a woman's shallow,
Creaking wupengs strain in sympathy with
Flurrying snow, caught in the glare of
Falls silently over deserted verandas;
A fragile sun...finally relinquishes...
Sinks into the bottomless depths of endless
That huge Autumn Moon...
As big as an island in the emerald sea!
Copyright © john fleming | Year Posted 2020
Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.
to post a comment