Time Passing -- A Miscellany of Poems; ŠThor May 1996     index



Wood, Paper, Plastic



This wood was a live poem in the wind

Some short summertime ago; still warm to know,

My rough hand feels its form, shyly

Bone to bone, grain to grain;

And this old grey log, splintered at the ends,

We split one quiet Sunday afternoon

To keep warm, breathing steam like careless gods

While families of insects fled in fear.


This paper, pulped and rolled, bleached of memories

Struggles to be a poem, in crisp folds,

Mingles with sour sweat

Passing from palm to palm;

Lighting beacons, fanning revolutions,

Tattooed with imprisoned thoughts,

And quietly dies on dusty shelves

As bright ambitions settle for a sigh.


This plastic lost its life

When a billion trees were sacrificed

For uncounted crushing years, and blandly resurrected

On the torture racks of science,

So that, perfect in form,

The fluted, glistening lamp stand at my elbow

Follows deathless orders from its maker in Changsha,

And can no longer whisper in the night.


Thor, 1999