The stars do not fall

The stars do not fall
The moon does not shrink and grow
There will come a day
The sun will not rise—so what
That your love’s a fucking lie

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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…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

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A Cicada’s Swan Song: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Spring in the Jade Pavilion”

“We survived. You and I. And those who survive have a duty. Our duty is to do our best to keep on living. Even if our lives are not perfect. ”
from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

How could either of us have known
My plastic balcony table
Would be your final resting place?

When I saw you there, I thought
You were already dead
So I picked you up; I noticed,
Your filigreed, shimmering wings,
Your two dark, oval eyes,
Your tapered, beveled body—
And then the white mold
Coating your underside—
A scourge to your kind.

Suddenly, you buzzed.
The unexpected movement,
Violent between my fingers,
Startled me into dropping you
Back onto the tabletop—
To you just another predator foiled.

Over the course of the day,
You crawled to the edge,
Then clung to the side,
And that is where you died.

The chemicals in your brain
Arranged into a song of longing,
Did you succeed in passing
Your sad melody along?
Does a slit in a twig somewhere
Conceal eggs that already know the tune?

No matter, your agonies
Pierced an untold number
Of smaller beings—like me,
For your vibrating heart
Shields a silence
That—like desire—the wind,
Though warm and merciless,
Cannot carry away.

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Tune: “Spring in the Jade Pavilion”
by Li Qingzhao

Red Plum Blossom
Soft red petals ready to unfold,
Luscious jade-green buds begin to break.
Tell me, are her southern branches all in full bloom?
I know not how much perfume she has in store,
I am only aware that her heart is throbbing
with boundless love.

The Taoist recluse at the spring window, how she pines!
No leaning against the balustrade, her mood so depressed.
Come have a drink, if you will, with no more ado.
Who knows but that tomorrow the wind may blow the
blossoms away?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Here is all the ci/词 and responses to it on this blog.

《玉楼春》 李清照
红酥肯放琼苞碎,探著南枝开遍未。不知酝藉几多香,但见包藏无限意。
道人憔悴春窗底,闷损阑干愁不倚。要来小酌便来休,未必明朝风不起。

《玉樓春》李清照
紅酥肯放瓊苞碎,探著南枝開遍未。不知醞藉幾多香,但見包藏無限意。
道人憔悴春窗底,悶損闌干愁不倚。要來小酌便來休,未必明朝風不起。

“Yùlóu chūn” Lǐ Qīngzhào
Hóng sū kěn fàng qióng bāo suì , tànzhe nán zhī kāi biàn wèi. Bùzhī yùn jí jǐ duō xiāng , dàn jiàn bāocáng wúxiàn yì.
Dàoren qiáocuì chūn chuāng dǐ , mèn sǔn lángān chóu bù yǐ. Yào lái xiǎo zhuó biàn lái xiū , wèibì míng cháo fēng bù qǐ.

“Jade/Storied Building/Spring” Li Qingzhao
Red/silky/willing/release/jade/bud/break, search/to make know/southern/branch/open/all over/not yet. Not knowing/harbor/conceal/how/much/fragrance, but/appear/to contain/unbounded/meaning.
Taoist/person/wan/sallow/spring/window/bottom, gloomy/decrease/balustrade/worry/not/rely on. Must/come/drink/snack/come/rest, maybe not/tomorrow morning/wind/not/rise.

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…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Gay Pride Parade: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Complaint Against A Prince”

Gay Pride Parade: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Complaint Against A Prince”

Mid-August and the weather turns cool,
The rain falls for three days and three nights,
The cold and the wet
Silences the cicadas,
But the green grass at least is lengthening
Through the cracked concrete steps.
After two weeks at the seaside
Feeling the sun, the wind and the saltwater
On my bare skin,
I am back in Montreal,
Lying in the dark,
Listening to the anemic rain
Through the open window.
Tomorrow is gay pride again
And, if the clouds clear,
I will join the noisy, colorful crowd,
And as they dance by
I will think of the ones
Who were here last year
But have passed like a parade.

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(For all those who have died in the past year, you know who they are.)

Tune: “Complaint Against A Prince”
Spring in the Boudoir
by Li Qingzhao

Late spring in the Imperial city,
A hall deeply secluded within double gates.
Once more the grass in front of the steps
Grows lush and green,
And from my upstairs window
I gaze and gaze at the last wild geese
Vanishing from the evening sky.
Nowhere to find a messenger to convey
My teeming thoughts far away.
I am in deep sorrow–
A sorrow that never abates.

The deeper your love, the more poignant
The feeling of sadness there’s no resisting.
It is again Cold Food Day.
The garden swings lying idle ,
The lanes deserted.
All is quiet save a bright moon
That slants down to drench the pear blossoms.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Here is all the ci/词 and responses to it on this blog.

李清照《怨王孙/忆王孙》
帝里春晚,重门深院。
草绿阶前,暮天雁断。
楼上远信谁传?恨绵绵。
多情自是多沾惹,难拚舍,又是寒食也。
秋千巷陌,人静皎月初斜,浸梨花。

李清照《怨王孫/憶王孫》
帝里春晚,重門深院。
草綠階前,暮天雁斷。
樓上遠信誰傳?恨綿綿。
多情自是多沾惹,難拚舍,又是寒食也。
鞦韆巷陌,人靜皎月初斜,浸梨花。

Lǐqīngzhào “yuàn wángsūn/yì wángsūn”
dì lǐ chūnwǎn, zhòng mén shēn yuàn.
Cǎolǜ jiē qián, mù tiān yàn duàn.
Lóu shàng yuǎn xìn shuí chuán? Hèn miánmián.
Duō qíng zì shì duō zhān rě, nán pàn shě, yòu shì hánshí yě.
Qiūqiān xiàng mò, rén jìng jiǎo yuèchū xié, jìn líhuā.

Li Qingzhao Complain/King/grandson
Emperor/home/spring/late, double/gate/close/courtyard.
Grass/green/steps/front, sunset/sky/geese/break.
Building/upper/distant/letter/who/pass on? Regret/continuous/uninterrupted.
Many/feelings/oneself/are/in excess/moisten/vex, difficult/disregard/give-up, again/is/Cold Food Festival/here.
Garden swing/lane/empty, people/calm/bright/moon/beginning of month/immerse/pear/flower.

Here is all the ci/词 and responses to it on this blog.

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…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Abegweit, You Were My Cradle

Abegweit, You Were My Cradle
(A response to a song by Lennie Gallant)

Abegweit, you were my cradle.
Though the sea eats your red flesh away,
The day will come you’ll be my grave,
Thyme, spruce and bay scented on the waves.

Though the sea eats our red flesh away,
The Man-Born-of-Speech sees his dreams
Of thyme, spruce and bay sent by the waves
To cheat the cradles and rob the graves.

Man-Born-of-Speech, have you ceased your dreams
Of swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches
To feed their cradles and stock your graves
Covered with sparkling morning dew?

Swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches,
The day will come you too will see my grave
Covered with sparkling morning dew
On Abegweit, cradled on the waves.

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Depth Charge: When I was on Prince Edward Island this summer I went to see Lennie Gallant at the Mackenzie Theatre and one of the highlights of the show was his song “Abegweit,” which featured chanting by Hubert Francis and recounted the Mi’kmaq legend that every night Glooscap, literally “Man [created] from only speech,” slept, dreaming, with Abegweit (now, Prince Edward Island) as his pillow. This pantoum was born of that song and my experiences on the Island this summer.

Griffin Tombstone_20140810_144053

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…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Swimming Nude in Summer Rain

It comes slanting dark
Across the north shore—warm—wet
Forcing a quick choice
Flee—or strip naked and swim
As the rain shivers the waves

Each drop raised a shining spout
Sparkling bright in the sunlight
From the thin blue band
At the still clear horizon
Of soft pulsing sea

The beach has been cleared
The families and couples
Decided to flee
Leaving me alone in this
Expanse of dancing silver

A gull and a cormorant
The only others witness
To shifting rhythms
Of rain shadow and light—but
They’ve seen it before

In half an hour
The rain has moved to the east
The sun reappears
The beach slowly fills again—
For them just another day

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Depth Charge: An absolutely amazing day at Blooming Point beach yesterday gave rise to this chain of  Reversing Tankas, a variation of Mirrored Tanka.

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…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”