PUIs- 20th century poets under the influence

[green_message] In an Instant
David Budbill

The place where I
stopped last night
is far away today.

Tomorrow,
tonight
will be last night.

In an instant,
the present
is the past.

I was a kid
just yesterday, today
I’m an old man.

After Li Yi
David Budbill

Everything fades away.
The grass is brown.

My head is bald.
What hair is left is gray.

My youth is gone.
The end of life is in the mirror.

Harmonizing with Tu Fu’s “Written on the Wall at Chang’s Hermitage”
David Budbill

It is fall here now in the mountains. The air is crisp and bright.
Time for cutting wood. First the chainsaw’s whine, then the
splitting hammer’s fall, the clunk of blocks of wood coming apart.

I pause from my labors, wipe the sweat from my face,
and look down the hill to my late garden and then across
the valley to the yellow side of Judevine Mountain.

I am alone here today and I want to be alone. To cut, split,
and stack firewood, to eat simple food I myself have grown,
to work with pen and paper or at my computer making poems,

to sit in the evening and listen to the silence of
these mountains: these simple things, the warmth of friends, and love – the touch
of another are all I’ve ever wanted. All else is distraction.

As I Step Over A Puddle At The End Of Winter, I Think Of An Ancient Chinese Governor
James Wright

pAnd how can I, born in evil days
And fresh from failure, ask a kindness of Fate?
— Written A.D. 819

Po Chu-i, balding old politician,
What’s the use?
I think of you,
Uneasily entering the gorges of the Yang-Tze,
When you were being towed up the rapids
Toward some political job or other
In the city of Chungshou.
You made it, I guess,
By dark.

But it is 1960, it is almost spring again,
And the tall rocks of Minneapolis
Build me my own black twilight
Of bamboo ropes and waters.
Where is Yuan Chen, the friend you loved?
Where is the sea, that once solved the whole loneliness
Of the Midwest?Where is Minneapolis? I can see nothing
But the great terrible oak tree darkening with winter.
Did you find the city of isolated men beyond mountains?
Or have you been holding the end of a frayed rope
For a thousand years?

After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard
Charles Wright

East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world’s tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.

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