Friday, November 20, 2009

Poems: The Untangled Vine Becomes

11 Homophonic Translations from the Japanese by Tony Leuzzi


Before the dreaded taking leave
you wrapped in a white sheet dim
the lights     The room becomes
a cave of recollection     a woman's
laughter     falling water


It is difficult to say
the man who in the moon's pale glow
approached with slow and careful steps
is he who
as dawn crowned the evergreens in gold
darted from my bed


In this irrational season
we knell for no one

If rage unfurls a road
too narrow for our feet

each step we fail to take will leave us
tolling for the birds and rocks


Walking east I call
to mind
             another time

when done
                   with walking east
I turned the other way
and walked alone

because it was the other way


Watching mist rise from distant hills
I am reminded of a time when
after stealing through the woods
I hurried home and saw
a strange man leaning on our gate
laughing with my mother


we are as are you
now know how you know

the untangled vine becomes


When Eve was run from Eden
she came upon and then pursued
a deer which
in its coyness lured her
further and further
into a forest of tombs


A man rapped at my gate for bread
I handed him an urn of ash
which he would later knead to bake
a loaf of darkened bone


The bow bends the rake gathers
The first born has been left to die
beneath a sky so blue
the birds there soar then sink
like small black ships


There are no secrets in this river
A minnow brushes by my knees

On another shore a man
has finished the last of his wine
and whispered from the bottle
before he sent it floating on the water


I am not the mirror's me
but you knew that

having made a he of me

when I reach to touch his face
you're already there

~ Tony Leuzzi, summer '09

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