Traveling Li Po

 

 

I fanned through a tome of  T’ang poetry

to a poem by

Li

Po:

                                     Listening To A Monk From Shu Playing The Lute.

 

The first line went fine,

however, behind

“Westward down Emei Shan”

the comma moved.

 

,

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

,

 

The comma moved?!

 

Well, it turned out to not be a comma at all,

but the tiniest being I’ve seen.

Down through the poem it pointedly ambled,

singling out words on the way.

 

             The

    Monk

        Westward

  First

     Thousand

               Heart

                      Bells

              Came

        Autumn

 

So small that I couldn’t make out what it was:

too small to be even

 

a

 

f

l

e

a

 

(yet moved by the same pulse impelling a Gulliver!).

 

And what was it doing

on page two-four-six

of a Chinese collection of verse?

 

I mean:

It didn’t jump on when I opened the book:

It was in there reading!

for crying out loud.

 

Down an additional poem it drifted,

moon dust in dynastic magic.

Up and then over its mountainous title:

 

In Praise Of A Gold And Silver Painted Scene

Of The Buddha Manifestation

In The Pure Land Of The West.

 

Descending through

 

That

 

Separated

Ultimate Joy

 

 

a c r o s s     t h e     s n o w     w h i  t e     d e s e r t     b o r d e r

 

 

 

 

t

o

 

t

h

e

 

u

n

d

e                                                                               .

r                                                                           f    .

s                                                                        a    .

i                                                                     e    .

d                                                               l     .

e                                                      g      .

o                                           n        .

f                               I        .

the   curl            .

 

 

 

(c) Arne Torneck 2011 all rights reserved