Friday, November 17, 2017

Sent North on a Rainy Night


Sent North on a Rainy Night
               

you ask the date of my return: there’s no date;
in the Ba mountains ponds swell with autumn rain—

when may we again trim wicks by the west window,
and speak together about Ba mountain night rain


based on Li Shangyin: 夜雨寄北
yè yŭ jì běi



Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Cloudy Mountains”: Mi Youren; 1130.
Public domain.




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Taking Down A Trellis


Taking Down A Trellis


the bound sticks already wither & fall;
the gourd’s leaves turn wilted & sparse—

since its white flowers managed to bear fruit
how can green vines not accept this dismantling—

autumn insects’ voices haven’t gone away;
sparrows at dusk: what can they be thinking—

in the cold, things now fall to waste;
human life also has its beginnings


based on Du Fu: 除架
chú jià




Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Early Autumn”: Qian Wuan. 13th Century; ink & colors on paper scroll.
Public domain



 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Partridge Sky



Partridge Sky

forest groves cut off mountain dawn, bamboo hides the walls,
cicadas’ hubbub fades in grass by the small pond—
white birds appear reeling & reeling again through the sky,
lotus shines vermilion, its delicate scent on the water—

past the cottages,
near the ancient city,
I stroll quietly on goosefoot cane, turning to the oblique light—
thanks to yesterday’s midnight rain
I get another cool day in this drifting life


Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017
based on Su Shi: 鷓鴣天
zhè gū tiān


Many thanks as always to Sheila Graham-Smith for her helpful suggestions.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Autumn Skies Part”: Guo Xi. Song Dynasty – Public domain



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

5 Phases of the October Moon


1. new moon

traffic looks stalled under the Fremont Bridge arch
but it’s far off through rain & the train window

black river’s a one-way mirror for the sky
where the moon must float, absorbing gray moisture

2. waxing crescent

the sky’s undecided--half hour after
blue, half hour before black--but the train might

arrive on schedule under gold station lights:
the crescent’s blurred above angled power lines

3. half moon

cattails & vetch thrive at the parking lot’s edge
where this late afternoon blends shadow & sun—

the yellow clapboard walls align slanted light,
but not slanted light off the divided moon

4. waxing gibbous

streetlight photons cut across the avenue,
glimmer between the birch leaves, an electric

nest; here come the headlights, flying two by two:
moon’s belly swells ripe in an unpeopled sky

5. full moon

the taijitu sign glows black & white against
a stucco building; people are driving home,

lights approaching from all dimensions; how can
this moon be both a mirror & an orphan



Jack Hayes
© 2017

This completes the yearlong cycle of moon quatrains, & also officially signals the completion of the Sunflower Sky manuscript & 101 Portland Moons. Stay tuned for publication information.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Moon


(8 quatrains)

1. new moon

the clothesline shadow sharpens on white clapboards:
the wooden pins & dish towels float static

between lilac’s silhouette & the window:
sun crescent at the moon’s invisible edge

2. waxing crescent

crickets babble like invisible water
from all directions at once; white headlights flow

east-west, almost steady; afloat in heaven’s
black river: the crescent moon, luminous leaf

3. half moon

the smears where plums dropped to the concrete grow darker
where black plum leaves screen the streetlights; white roses

flank the dim sidewalk, but it’s clear they’ve gone past—
half moon in nameless purple sky: gaze elsewhere

4. waxing gibbous

kitchen light walks through the backdoor screen, stretches
out on the swing chair a low ginkgo bough holds

up—nothing else is stirring, not even that
moon half hidden in the ginkgo’s higher limbs
 
5. full moon

that sconce light on the sky blue wall shines inside
the picture window along with the porch light

across the avenue; in the backyard the
moon burns incandescent yellow by itself
 
6. waning gibbous

electric crimson roses climb the stop sign,
but the blooms don’t seem to listen; sunflowers

bask in light off clapboards: beside a building
made of windows, the waning moon hangs heavy

7. last quarter

clouds at the horizon are such as they are,
far west of the red-lettered gas station sign—

doubtful we’ll comprehend them in this lifetime—
the half moon’s vanishing in more than one sense

8. waning crescent

that flash of a small white plane overhead; I
mistook it for the moon, but it turns north—two

cabbage whites thread through a garden that’s gone past—
this crescent’s a paler cloud, off by itself



Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gitimalya



Welcome to another edition of the Sunday music series.

We continue our September feature on composer Toru Takemitsu with a version of his 1974 piece “Gitimalya” (sub-titled “A Bouquet of Songs”). “Gitimalya” is scored for marimba & orchestra; here the marimba is played by Luigi Gaggero, with the accompaniment of the Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin.

There’s a lovely & brief write up about this composition at Allmusic, which can be found at this link.

Hope you enjoy it.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Stage for the presentation of the album "A Bonsai Garden" by Brian Banks, Musical Wednesdays program within the week.” Photo by Wiki user Fraguando (link provided is empty), who makes it available under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Time & the River


(Eastbank Esplanade: 9/2/17)

green river like evening air stretching its
hands between the maples beside a distant

river—mother would recognize it in oils,
a canvas I could picture but didn’t paint—

but it’s afternoon & water has little
to do with this solid state blue sky; liquid

fragments stitched with boat wakes & memories &
glimpses in the direction this current flows


the pigeons & starlings feeding on bread crumbs
strewn by park benches are skittish in the heat—

the scrub jay perched on the galvanized railing
turns & turns again, darts to the madrona’s

foliage—a pair of Canada geese on
a sinking log below the bramble cascade

stretch wings, preen in unison; under Burnside
bridge other geese move on indigo shadows


I’m not young; the motorboat churns downriver,
bow lifted; a paddleboat moseys past those

floating geese, but the geese don’t stir; you’re standing
in sunlight, holding the dog on her leash in

a photograph in my mind that’s also you
standing by the railing above green green flow:

a freight train processes west on the Steel Bridge,
its passing infinite for those few minutes


Jack Hayes
© 2017