from To the Tune of “The Court Fills with Fragrance” Part III by Su Dong-po

“Return to where I belong”
Where do I belong
Home near Min and Emei thousands of miles away
My hundred years nearly half gone
The coming days won’t be many
Suddenly I’ve seen another leap year at Huangzhou
All of my children
speak and sing in the local dialect
Friends from these mountains
with chicken and pork and festival wine
urge me to grow old at East Hill

What can I say
as I leave here
the events of our lives
come and go like a shuttle
I’ll soon be watching the autumn wind
stir crystal waves of the Luo
Lucky for these slender willows by my house
Thinking of me
no one will lop their tender branches
Pass the word
to elders along the Yangtze
sun my fishing cape now and then

translated by Yun Wang


To the Tune of”Southern Countryside” I by Su Dong-po

Frost is on the ground and the river has shrunk
Distant shoals appear amid shimmering green shallows
As the wine wears off I begin to feel the wind
I shiver
My torn hair clings to my head with too many thoughts

How can I give thanks to autumn
Let me say goodbye with this sparkling cup
Everything becomes a dream in the end
Let this be enough
Tomorrow even butterflies will mourn the chrysanthemums

translated by Yun Wang

a young woman runs: for Aliona & Bucks

the sun overhead
heating the world
this autumn day
a young woman runs
her dog at her heels
her long blonde hair
pulled back
in a ponytail
bouncing in rhythm
to her strides
the dog lets out cries
twirling with joy
as they run
one afternoon receding
as another begins
bringing hope
to this old heart
that a new day
is not just coming
but is already here

on chosen ground

every day that passes
leaves a stain
that just won’t rub off
the sky overcast
bad weather creeping in
and my oh my
this living
gets harder
every day that comes
that goes
and here we are
standing eight
on chosen ground

Fig by Birhan Keskin

You made me laugh, Summer, you’re my dream
I slept with you, with you I wake.

My insides are soooo big, the world
fits in, next to you.
O my spikeless, cornerless, lingering love
my self as withered as a summer leaf.

translated by George Messo

from Chicago Poem by Lew Welch

You can’t fit it. You can’t make it go away.
I don’t know what you’re going to do about it.
But I know what I’m going to do about it. I’m just
going to walk away from it. Maybe
A small part of it will die if I’m not around
feeding it anymore