It is when the world’s erased,
Made blank by a winter storm,
It is then we know,
Beneath the soft, killing snow,
Seeds and eggs and cruel blooms
Plot their spring revanche.
It’s in January’s wind
We first hear the desperate,
Sad and lonely tune
The cicadas will sweetly sing
In the July heat at noon.
This is when we know.
We know happy is the corpse
The rain softly falls upon:
It was warm and wet,
Beading on your coffin dark,
Disappearing down into
The cold, hungry ground.
We cried and then laughed—a lot—
As long as we are breathing
Your love has not died,
Your world will not be erased,
Made blank by this awful plague.
This is what we know.
(for Doug and Bob and Chris and Peter and Patrick and the countless others buried deep in our still beating hearts)
Tune: “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”
The honks of departing wild geese die away;
Only scattered clouds are lingering in an azure sky.
Outside the back-window snow falls thick and blinding,
Smoke from the incense burner rises straight and high.
My phoenix hairpin lurid under the candle’s glow;
From the hairpin pendants of figurine and flower designs
Swing languidly to and fro .
Bugles hasten the break of day,
As dawn stars fade i n the Milky Way.
Futile my search for the first blooms of spring:
A wintry chill to the west wind does cling.
Lǐ Qīngzhào Púsà mán
Guī hóng shēng duàn cán yún bì , bèi chuāng xuě luò lú yān zhí . Zhú dǐ fèng chāi míng , chāi tóu rén shèng qīng .
Jiǎo shēng cuī xiǎo lòu , shǔsè huí niú dǒu . Chūnyì kàn huā nán, xīfēng liú jiù hán.
Li Qingzhao Bodhisattva Barbarian
Return/goose/sound/break/spoil/cloud/jade-green, behind/window/snow/fall/stove/smoke/straight. Candle/end/phoenix/hairpin/bright, haipin/head/person/able to bear/light.
Horn/sound/urge/dawn/divulge, daybreak/colour/circle/ox(star)/dipper(star). Spring/thought/see/flower/difficult, west/find/remain/as of old/cold.
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