this night

the whirling
of a fan
the hiss
of a candle
the beating
of a heart
this world
a corner
a light
in a window
not noticed
a footstep
on gravel
a scent
in the air
even the cat
senses shifting
this night

The Waters of Lung-t’ou by Hsü Ling

The road that I came by mounts eight thousand feet;
The river that I crossed hangs a hundred fathoms.
The brambles so thick that in summer one cannot pass!
The snow so high that in winter one cannot climb!
With branches that interlace Lung Valley is dark:
Against cliffs that tower one’s voice beats and echoes.
I turn my head, and it seems only a dream
That I ever lived in the streets of Hsien-yang.

translated by Arthur Waley

Back by Robert Creeley

Suppose it all turns into, again,
just the common, the expected
people, and places, the distance
only some change and possibly one

or two among them all, gone–
that word again–or simply more
alone than either had been
when you’d first met them. But you

also are not the same,
as if whatever you were were
the memory only, your hair, say,
a style otherwise, eyes now

with glasses, clothes even
a few years can make look
out of place, or where you
live now, the phone, all of it

changed. Do you simply give
them your address? Who?
What’s the face in the mirror then.
Who are you calling.

things change to remain the same: for Maureen

it was some fish restaurant on the coast
you knew the owner, I think
and a TV star was romancing some starlet
a few tables away
while you told me about the man
in your life
and I spoke of the woman
in mine
yours a success story
mine one of loss and pain
and we drank two bottles of wine
then I switched to bourbon
you to white russians
and it was close to dawn
when we weaved our way to our cars
you off to Venice Beach
me to Santa Monica
all the guys at I&L would fantasize about you
and ask my permission
to ask you out
Vimal said I was protective of you
and I suppose I was
you were always a bit vulnerable
and me, your protector
the long island kid
you still have my denim jacket
and high school letter
one day I’ll have to travel back in time
to retrieve them
and as you read your poetry to me
this summer in Dorsoduro
I couldn’t help wondering
what was wrong with those California boys
to let you go
your smile
dear friend
it is the same
a thousand years later
and sitting in a restaurant
that night in Moda
I saw the same beautiful girl
you always were, are
no matter how things change over time
some things
you old friend
stay the same

Later (6) by Robert Creeley

If you saw
dog pass, in car–

looking out, possibly
indifferently, at you–

would you–could you–
shout, “Hey, Spot!

It’s me!” After all
these years,

no dog’s coming home
again. Its skin’s

through rain, dirt,

to dust, hair alone
survives, matted tangle.

Your own, changed,
your hair, greyed,

your voice not the one
used to call him home.

“Hey Spot!” The world’s
greatest dog’s got

lost in the world,
got lost long ago.