Sunday, April 20, 2003

Two Poems

Resentment Near the Jade Stairs

Dew whitens the jade stairs.

This late, it soaks her gauze stockings.

She lowers her crystal blind to watch

the breaking, glass-clear moon of autumn.

-- Li Po (701-762) (via LinksToLiterature)

To Breath Rotund Suns

A bloody Eros

Stepping through lewisite

Limousines long and thick like

Exotic shiny insects

Scouring in contests

Waiving rights to chastity

Tousled skirts of skulls

Hiked up to the waists

Positioned to see where

The world ends and

Where it begins

-- Margaret Pao, The Imperial Pulse (contemporary, available here).

Li Po is an old favorite of mine, and Margaret Pao is a new-found favorite. I found a printed copy of The Imperial Pulse while randomly browsing at Powell's. Then I discovered that her poetry is also available in electronic form, so I keep a copy on my Sony Clie for easy access. I keep rereading Pao's poems -- many of them feel like puzzles I have not quite solved yet. The poems are full of interesting references, from lewisite which is a poison-gas chemical, to the "skirt of skulls" which suggests the iconography of the Hindu goddess Kali (though Kali has a necklace of skulls, not a skirt of skulls).

No comments: