IF YOU ARE ...

 

If you are an umbrella

please save the last pure ray of the sun

wait until the next spring wakens

I will release a heaven full of magnificence

 

If you are a kite

remember your place in the sky

wait until the next spring wakens

Tell me then, of the child that held the string,

how much taller he has grown

 

If you are a flower

please lift slowly your humble head

wait until the next spring wakens

I can say, ※ You haven*t changed a bit§

 

If you are a window

lower your curtain

wait until the next spring wakens

I will astonish you with a little mystery, joy

 

If you are a poet

please warm a kettle of wine of a thousand years

wait until the next spring wakens

I will come and collect your new poems,

sweet and aromatic

 

If you are a waterfall

let me gently roll you up

wait until the next spring wakens

I will show you a vista of mountains and waters

painted in calligrapher*s ink

 

If you are the sound of drums

follow the breeze into every sorrowful heart

wait until the next spring wakens

I will come and collect from one and all,

an earth shattering sound of early thunder

 

If you are a tear

hold on, disappear from the face of the strong

wait until the next spring wakens

Come then, decorate beneath the happy eyes, a feast of

furious rain

 

 

TREES * FOUR SEASONS

 

SPRING

 

Bury the wrinkles of time

deep in the bottom of your heart

 

Every time I see you

you*re as young as ever

 

SUMMER

 

Lofty season

 

A thick-plumed bird

on a branch

looks about perkily

 

Just as it should be, green,

everything green

 

AUTUMN

 

Loud and clear

Is it a screech of an insect

frightened at the sudden solitude

or a ringing in the hollow ears

after the noisy festival?

 

WINTER

 

When he grasps

there*s nothing left

but the last leaf

 

In the howling north wind

an old man

laughing bitterly, releases the leaf

and mutters

go, go, all of you go

fly high and go far away

                   

 
AUTUMN LEAVES

 

Every leaf

helps

thicken

the carpet

&

soften

   (

   )

   (

the

   )

   (

fall

 

 

 

AUTUMN WINDOW

 

Now that she is middle-aged, my wife

likes to stand before the window

and comb her hair

 

Her only makeup a trace of cloud

the landscape of a graceful

poised maturity

 

 


AUTUMN TREE

 

Upon the arrival of autumn

a tree

suddenly becomes scared

stretching desperately its shadow

to cover more ground

 

Under its feet

crises mushroom

and flourish

 

 

 

FALL

 

a busy season

so many dreams

to sweep up

 

suddenly she rises

and says

it's time to go

then turns

and leaves

 

 

 

RAINY SEASON

 

Over and over

repeating always the same old stuff

 

drip drip drip

chip chip chip

 

O how desperately we long for

a deafening thunder

or an overwhelming shout

 

SHUT UP

 

 

 

SPRING

 

Spring is a bed

sweet

yet short

 

Just as you are about to yawn

after awaking from hibernation

you find your outstretched limbs

suddenly confined

 

 

 

SPRING*S FIRST DANDELION

 

It most likely was blown here

last fall, from some faraway place

an immigrant of a sort

yet it now produces

the year*s first surprise

 

After a long winter

from the earth

that embraces all and nurtures all

a yellow flower emerges

and thus begins

a new spring

 

 

OLD WOMAN

 

Like a worn-out record

the deep grooves

on her forehead

repeat and repeat

 

I want to live

I want to live

I want to

 

 

FEET AND HANDS

 

Let feet do the task

that hands cannot handle

 

Carrying the not-big-enough fists

the feet

turn ever so slowly

and suddenly

dart

off

 

 

FOOT AND SHOE

 

A blistered foot

squirms

seeking compromise

from the shoe

 

 

UNDER THE NIGHT SKY

 

A wolf

howling at the sky

 

smells

the bait

inside his fence

 

drops his tail

and becomes

a dog

 

 

SHADOW OF A VOID

 

The sky becomes dizzy

watching

a circling falcon

train its beak

upon a panic-stricken rabbit

 

A sharp cry flashes

and is gone

only the shadow of a void remains

dazzling

like a bloody new wound

 

 

VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL

 

A block of marble

and twenty six letters of the alphabet

enable history to accommodate

so many young names

 

Wandering alone

an old woman has at last found

her only child

among the many

and with her eyes tightly shut

she is now feeling for the mortal wound

with her trembling fingers 

on his ice-cold forehead

 

MEMORIAL DAY

 

At Arlington, someone

Unknown goes down

 

The thousands, the thousands

Who have gone down in faraway fields

But who won*t die in the heart〞

How do we bury

The thousands

 

 

EXTRATERRESTRIALS

 

The evening newscast

is swarming with images

of extraterrestrials

 

Protruding foreheads

dark and skinny

and big eyes

staring straight out

from sunken sockets

 

What?

Starving Africans?

no wonder they look

so familiar

 

 

TELEVISION

 

The world

is easily

switched off

 

yet not quite

 

A spark of hatred

from the dimming screen

suddenly bursts into flames

soon spreading

over Vietnam

over the Middle East

over every feverish face

 

 

AFRICAN BOY

 

Day and night

a monstrous stomach

wriggles in his bloated belly

 

sucking up

the unblossomed laughter

sucking up

the teardrops that moisten a mother*s heart

sucking up

the meager flesh under his wrinkled skin

sucking up

the indifference in his eyes

and eventually sucking up

from his open mouth a ghastly cry

which we take for soundless

but is in fact at a pitch

well beyond the limit

of our comprehension

 

 

PICASSO DIED THIS MORNING

 

After frittering away the remaining afternoon

I walked up to the window many times

to see if the sky held any last surprise

 

As it hung over my neighbor's roof

the sun seemed almost

immortal.  Picasso died this morning

I wonder what tunes

the three musicians are going to play

I don't kown which way

the dove is going to fly

 

After showing us the world

is still soft and kneadable

the masterly hands are now withdrawing

I reached out unconsciously

but realizing how childish it was

my grasping hands turned to clapping

 

 

OUT OF EDEN

 

The snake finds

even a straight way

becomes torturous twists

and turns

 

Pausing from time to time

it raises its head

to hiss at the endless road

to salvation

 

 

AT THE ART INSTITUTE

 

1

Please do not touch

 

Underneath this cool-looking

brassy skin

a sun from the Big Bang

still burns fiercely

 

2

A broken arm

of ancient clay

halts the rush hour traffic

for the passing

Time Express

 

 

CHICAGO WINTER

 

Even steel trembles

So do teeth

 

Red lights burn in turns

At each icy corner

The eyes don*t

warm

 

On two feet

with two hands

Pulling down a hat

And tightening the scalp

You greet the wind

 

 

DRINKING TEA AT A FAMILY REUNION AFTER

THIRTY LONG YEARS OF SEPARATION

 

Down at one gulp

how unbearable it would have been

to taste drop by drop

the cup of thirty bitter years

 

You smile and say to me

good tea

should be sipped

and savored

 

 

TREE

 

I feel

something wheeling

in my body

rumbling day

and night

on the rugged road

toward the sky

 

 

DAYBREAK

 

I don*t care what the weatherman says

it*s going to be a fine day

 

Already I can see far and near

birdcalls rise

and prick the dark sky

making slits

to let light in

 

 

MORNING SONG

 

With dewdrops

to refresh their throats

the birds know

sooner or later

the worms will stick out

their sleepy heads