Friday, May 19, 2006

two poets, from the mountains, Henry Braun and Wang Wei

This week we received two new books of poems from mountain hermitages: Loyalty - New and Selected poems by Henry Braun, from Off the Grid Press, and The selected Poems of Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton, from New Directions Press.

Here's Henry Braun:

A Certain Presence

Names of places decay.
Letters drop as if tongues were
a mountain range they tire of climbing.
Ranges of mountains, and the words
for whole countries soften
or harden, showing bone.
We try a new name for the inlet
where the huge rock holds its position
and the old tide turns.
Who we are is blurred.
Only our presence is certain
over the ground and water we keep

and Wang Wei:

Rain On and On at My Wheel-Rim River Farm

Rain on and on in these empty forests - smoldering cookfires
steam goosefoot and simmer millet for farmers in eastern fields.

A snowy egret takes flight across flooded farmland vast and silent.
Yellow orioles sing deep among summer trees thick with shadow.

Perfecting mountain tranquility, I watch flaring blossoms fade,
and my fast pure beneath pines, pick dew-graced mallow greens.

Done struggling for a place in that human realm,I'm just this
old- timer of the wilds. So why are these seagulls still suspicious?


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