22  April  Posted by admin

April 20-22 Mom’s April Poem a Day Challenge 2013

9April 20th The Old Chinese Poet  II


Be an old Chinese poet or talk to or about one. Go anywhere you want with this.  The old Chinese poets were engaged with an immense wilderness. Theirs was a calm spirituality of wildness.

They had Buddhist and/or Taoist acceptance of “everything burgeoning from the emptiness through transformations and back into emptiness.” (Hinton)




Mountain Dialogue

Li Po

Translated by David Hinton


You ask why I have settled in these emerald mountains:

I smile, mind of itself perfectly idle, and say nothing.


Peach blossoms drift streamwater away deep in mystery

here another heaven and earth, nowhere people know.


From Cold Mountain Poems

Gary Snyder


In a tangle of cliffs I chose a place—

Bird-paths but no trails for men.

What’s beyond the yard?

White clouds clinging to vague rocks.

Now I’ve lived here — how many years —

Again and again, spring and winter pass.

Go tell families with silverware and cars

“What’s the use of all that noise and money?”



Thoughts on a Night Journey

                  Tu Fu

Trans: Arthur Sze


A slight wind stirs grasses along the bank.

A lone boat sails with a mast in the night.

The stars are pulled down to the vast plain,

And the moon bobs in the river’s flow.


My name will never be famous in literature:

I have resigned office from sickness and age.

Drifting and drifting, what am I

But a solitary gull between earth and heaven?



River Snow

                  Lin Tsung-Yuan

                  Translated by David Hinton


A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.

Ten thousand paths: all traces of people gone.


In a lone boat, rain cloak and hat of reeds,

an old man’s fishing the cold river snow.



Tu Fu

         Wendell Berry


As I sit here

in my little boat

tied to the shore

of the passing river

in a time of ruin,

I think of you,

old ancestor,

and wish you well.



The Old Poets of China

                           Mary Oliver


Wherever I am, the world comes after me.

It offers me its busyness. It does not believe

that I do not want it.  Now I understand

why the old poets of China went so far and high

into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.


April 21st

A Simple Form with Candor



Write a poem in the simple form of the poem below.  The trick is to make it meaningful, not merely simplistic.  The form has four-syllable lines and four-line stanzas.  Try one with only four stanzas.

The poem below has a funny/serious flickering of candor/condor in the content as well as lots of playing with sound.


Save the Candor

Amit Majmudar


Every tripod-

toting birder

knows it never

nests on urban

girders. Even

fences set its


head askew, its


waddle swinging,

wings akimbo.

Few have got it

on their lists and


fewer still have

caught it singing,

this endangered

North American


candor, cousin

of the done in

dodo, big-eyed

Big Sur tremor-


Tenor — only

ten or twenty

hang glide over

Modoc County.


Humbly numbered

(as their days are)

for us crazy

crown- and throat – and



Any niche as

fragile as a

candor’s renders


its extinction

certain.  We can

sabotage its

habitat with


half a laugh or

quarter murmur,

fluster coveys

worth of candors


off their branches,

which, abandoned,

soon are little

more than snarking-


grounds for minor

birds, the common

snipe, the yellow-

bellied bittern.


Poetry magazine

March 2013


April 22nd

More Starting Places


Bounce off these, incorporate several, use one as an epigraph, work from them any way you choose to arrive at your poem.



Talking too much about yourself is like

wearing your clothes inside out.

Anna Kamienska


….even our names are made of fire

and we feed on night.

W.S. Merwin



The house shakes with the rumble of trains.

Carol Lem



The root of all that dazzles you is in your heart.

Nancy Willard (translating Francis Ponge)


When my heart falls out of my pocket,

It cracks like an egg on the sidewalk

Deborah Brown



If you think you hear somebody knocking

On the other side of the words pay

No attention.

W.S. Graham


Night comes so people can sleep like fish

in black water.



Take the tiny pieces and see if you

Can make a life from them, I mean

One you could love.

Deborah Brown



I hear I’ve been made the match vendor

of the great dark night of the soul.

Charles Simic


Late birds rowing home across bright spaces

W.S. Merwin


…I have woven a parachute out of

everything broken: my scars

are my shield.

William Stafford



What a war must be fought for


Dean Young



Poems are paperweights

Ballast to keep our words

From floating away.

Elaine Equi


One must have a mind of many breezes

to fly a kite…

Dean Young



Let one by one things come alive like fish

And swim away into their future waves.

William Stafford



Just because we have birds inside us,

we don’t have to be cages.

Dean Young


Something is always tumbling

Down the steps in my chest

Carrying a birthday cake.

I want what I get.

Dean Young



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