Fukushima Mon Amour

On  a carpet of leaves

Myriad of songs
From seeds of the human heart
Discordant chorus
Overheating the green globe
Then falling into silence

AGG20140131

Depth  charge:  The initial spark for this poem came from reading  the preface to the Kokinshū as quoted in Haruo Shirane’s  Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons:

“The songs of Japan take the human heart as their seed and flourish as myriad leaves of words. As long as they are alive in this world, the care and deeds of men and women are endless, so they speak of things they hear and see, giving words to feelings in their hearts. Hearing the cries of the bush warbler among the blossoms or the calls of the frog that lives in the waters, how can we doubt that every living creature sings its song? Without using force, poetry moves heaven and earth, makes even the unseen spirits and gods feel pity, smoothes the bonds between man and woman, and consoles the hearts of fierce warriors.”

Below is a lecture Haruo Shirane gave at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that summarizes his book:

To see all the Tanka, and writing about Tanka, on this blog please click here.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Year of the Horse 2014

Nanjing wutong trees Jan  2008

Remember the night
Beside the old city walls
We briefly held hands
As the city exploded
With thunder and smoke and love

The snow was strangely
Heavy on our final year
Together—we walked
Under the bare wutong trees
Now dressed in funeral white

Six long years have passed
And a seventh one begins
With this dark new moon
Imperceptible as you
On the far side of the world

AGG20140130
(for MKL)

Depth Charge: For all the writing featuring Nanjing, click here.

I’ve wrestled angels

Study for Jacob Wrestling the Angel 1876  Léon Joseph-Florentine Bonnat Detail

Study for Jacob Wrestling the Angel 1876 Léon Joseph-Florentine Bonnat Detail

I’ve wrestled angels
X    My entire adult life
X    So I’ve seen many
Beautiful hard cocks but not
A single feather—not one
X    Angels like me seem
X    To be the earthbound fallen
Dust of long-dead stars

AGG20140129

Depth Charge: Another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5). This poem was sparked after reading Le Combat avec l’ange/The Combat with the Angel by Jacques Prévert.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

A slow spectacle

Covehead lighthouse_20140101_111649

A slow spectacle
Snow accumulates like debt
Steady—uncaring
Somewhere—a roof collapses
Somewhere—a pensioner falls
Sometimes—there’s a hand
To help pull the fallen up
Sometimes—there is not

AGG20140127

Depth Charge: Another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5).

After Porgy & Bess

porgy and bess

Come on little star
Roll me some light—quiet—bright
In this darkness cold
The shameless snow in shifting
Drifts in endless cosmic night

AGG20140125

Depth Charge: Taking in Opera Montreal’s production of Borgy & Bess, I was struck by the line “Oh, little stars, little stars, Roll, roll, roll me some light” sung by Porgy as he plays dice. Exiting the theatre, the wind had picked up and the cold, dry snow was on the move. Thanks for the ticket, Ken Monteith.

 

Your heart chaotic

your heart chaotic_20131226_103008

Your heart chaotic
You wanted a love lawless
As the drifting snow
Caressing the grave locking
You in death’s jealous embrace

AGG20140123
(Dedicated to the fickle lovers of the world)

Depth Charge: Some allusions contained in these 5 lines of 31 syllables: “Behavior lawless as snow-flakes” from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, section 39 in the linked version;  “And when Sergeant Death in his cold arms doth embrace me,” from The Bard of Armagh, which I’ve often interpreted as a riposte to the lines: “The grave’s a fine and private place,/ But none, I think, do there embrace.” from Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress; and  “Of the chaos called our hearts.” from my own poem, Remaindered.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Our human puzzle

Our Human Puzzle_20140106_170505

Our human puzzle
X     My hairy chest pressed against
X    The smooth of your back
X         My left arm under your neck
X         Entwining fingers with your
X    Right hand—my right arm
X    Around your chest ‘til we wake
Slowly breaks apart

AGG20140122
(for Cutty)

Depth Charge: Another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5).

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

Awake before dawn

north shore winter_20131226Awake before dawn
Silence
x         —I  dreamed I counted
How many snowflakes
Had fallen in the cold night
Forgotten
x        —now
x                  —still
x        —blank
—white

AGG20140120

Depth Charge:  Another experiment in Exploded Tanka, this poem’s starting point was a line from L’École des Beaux-Arts by Jacques Prévert: “Cette fleur subite/This sudden flower.”  While pondering this line and looking out the window at dawn breaking across the winter sky, my mind then wandered to Spring Daybreak by Meng Haoran:

孟浩然的《春晓》

春眠不觉晓,处处闻啼鸟。
夜来风雨声,花落知多少。

Meng Haoran’s Spring Daybreak

Springtime asleep, I missed the dawn,
Everywhere the birds are singing;
During the night the wind and rain howled,
No way to know how many flowers have fallen.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”