Alica at the station

she boards the train
in the evening
traveling a land
that has seen war
for centuries
past scorched earth
through lush fields
of grain
over rivers
in forests
to arrive
the next morning
in the capital
looking up to the sky
with hope
in her heart

“If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

from Douglas Moore’s blog Art of Quotation

Art of Quotation

“If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

— Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice, statesman, political figure, Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)


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vocabulary lesson

Leonard Durso

cut loose means
to let go
as in letting go of a person
of a group of people
one’s feelings change
not for the better
or the worse
just different
bar none means
without exception
I cut them loose
bar none
crumbling means
falling apart
not quickly
but gradually
as if termites
infected the house
the walls began to crumble
so that one had to abandon
that particular domicile
or one’s home
the place of residence
negotiations meaning
a compromise
trying to find the middle ground
if at all possible
when people are phony
it means not real, fake
than there can be no relief
or let up
and the only consolation
is a pat on the back
a sorry, sport
better luck next time
doomed means
it is over
to lose forever
whatever one had
or was under the illusion
of having
has become scarce
as in disappeared
leaving…

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Cold Mountain by Ai Xing Fu (translation)

another translation from the Chinese by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

Life is But This 命

At last we are getting some cold weather in Sydney.  We don’t have frost on the lower north shore but I hear that it is rampant elsewhere.   So for some of us this poem is timely.

Ai Xing Fu, a poet of the late Song and early Yuan Dynasty era left a large body of work but there is no record of his dates.

Cold Mountain by Ai Xing Fu

The mountain quivers in the wind that flags the wild geese down

Snatching the sound of a fisherman’s cold sporadic song

A stream of frosted leaves runs like the great ape’s blood

Eclipsing the red of the setting sun for miles and miles

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017

寒山。艾性夫

山影飄搖落雁風,寒歌斷續釣魚翁。

一溪霜葉如猩血,奪盡斜陽十里紅。

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on holding patterns

Leonard Durso

try to stay awake
that’s the plan anyway
and so there is movement
drinks in a bar
dinner in a dimly lit place
conversation vague enough
to be mildly interesting
but not revealing
the face attractive
the body appealing
there is a warmth here
that could soothe an aching heart
this is keeping the ghosts at bay
and the present present
in a life in a holding pattern
waiting for that special someone
who may never appear
to talk of books and poetry
theatre and film
of living a life of meaning
beyond the balance sheet
of things that really matter
not safe but dangerously alive
instead of just killing time
trying to find a way
to coast home

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