Morning Fog

Sky down to the ground 
Through the dull grey a black crow 
Flies alone strangely 
Mutedcoming towards me 
An old man walks an old dog 
 
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guoande seal script jpegTo 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 Griffinjust click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

 

Seven Years Later in Parc Laurier: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Sand Washed by Waves”

As letters to words are years to memories,
Seven years today since I quit China,
Right on cue the summer’s first cicada sings,
Pestering with his wordless longing,
Asking what it is we’ve done with his precious time,
Well, I’ve  seen a whole lot of circuses,
Written well over six hundred poems,
Had sex with maybe half as many men,
All these various acrobatic routines swerve
Beauty from what was and never can be,
But I’ll leave it to the crows in Parc Laurier
To dispute over things delicious and dead.
These days when I turn my head,
It isn’t the Yangtze or Purple Gold Mountain I see
It is Mount Royal with the Saint Lawrence at its feet.

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Tune: “Sand Washed by Waves”
In Memoriam
by Li Qingzhao

Outside the curtains the howling fifth-watch wind
Blows away the last vestige of my melancholy dream.
Who will be my companion
When I go up the painted tower again?
I remember how he loved to chaff me
Poking the fire sideways with my jade hairpin—
A memory now vanished like the auspicious omen
In the seal-character incense.

Recollections flood my mind
Of happy days gone by
When the two of us climbed Purple Gold peak① hand in hand
Gazing at the hazy view below:
A river of spring waves wrapped in rain and mist ,
Gliding away as if half-sober and half-tipsy.
I keep on my garment
Tears shed the day before–
To shoot to the wild geese
As they wing past.

①Presumably an allusion to the Purple Gold Hill (Zhi Jin Shan ) on the south shore of the Yangtze River in today’s city of Nanjing.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

浪淘沙·李清照
帘外五更风,吹梦无踪。画楼重上与谁同?记得玉钗斜拨火,宝篆成空。
回首紫金峰,雨润烟浓。一江春浪醉醒中。留得罗襟前日泪,弹与征鸿。

Làng táo shā Lǐ Qīngzhào
lián wài wǔ gēng fēng, chuī mèng wú zōng. Huà lóu zhòng shàng yǔ shuí tóng ? Jìdé yù chāi xié bō huǒ , bǎo zhuàn chéng kōng .
Huíshǒu zǐjīn fēng , yǔ rùn yān nóng . Yī jiāng chūnlàng zuì xǐng zhōng. Liú dé luō jīn qiánrì lèi , dàn yǔ zhēng hóng .

Depth Charge: The photo is of the circus performance Duels which was part of Completement Cirque 2015.

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…”

Never Better Nothing More: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Remembering the Maid of Qin”

Dark dust of a billion stars
Lifting spiralling shifting
Settles into our being’s
Random DNA pairings
Love hunger but mostly fear
Ravelling unravelling
Evolution’s coiled ribbons
Lifting spiralling shifting
Black crows in the falling snow
Return at sunset noisy
With the day’s news in their beaks
Never better nothing more
The winter wind complicates
The urge of the snow to fall
Fifty years of memory
Lifting spiralling shifting
But always failing falling
Always settling into drifts
Of identical cold days
Sunset silences the crows
As—somewhere—a star explodes

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Tune: “Remembering the Maid of Qin”
The Wutong  Tree
by Li Qingzhao

Jumbled mountains, rolling plains:
The view from this high tower
Blurred in thin gleaming mist,
Thin gleaming mist.
Across the sunset sky
Flash crows coming home to roost;
At fall of dusk
Calls a distant bugle.

Fading incense, remnants of wine:
A heart full of remorse.
Parasol-leaves falling,
Parasol leaves falling.
Urged by the west wind.
Haunting me always,
Autumn’s somber colors.
Never leaves me alone,
The pain of loneliness.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

忆秦娥·桐·李清照
临高阁,乱山平野烟光薄。烟光薄,栖鸦归后,暮天闻角。
断香残酒情怀恶,西风催衬梧桐落。梧桐落,又还秋色,又还寂寞。

Yì qín é ·tóng·Lǐ Qīngzhào
Lín gāogé, luàn shān píngyě yān guāng báo . Yān guāng báo, qī yā guī hòu , mù tiān wén jiǎo .
Duàn xiāng cán jiǔ qínghuái è , xīfēng cuī chèn wútóng luò . Wútóng luò, yòu hái qiūsè , yòu hái jìmò.

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…”

No more mourning doves

No more mourning doves
Blackbirds blue jays or grackles
Even the proud crows
Now avoid the neighbourhood
Since two hungry hawks moved in

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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…”

First Day of Spring 2014

Wet snow coats the ground
Soft rains fall from a grey sky
The first day of spring

x     Two black crows squabble
x     Over mysteries revealed
x     By a changing world

Of so many absences
False promises of return

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Depth Charge: This is a hydra-headed tanka—two haikus share the same closing 7-7 couplet—that may be read in any order or combination.

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…”

Wisteria and Justice Reversed: Robb

04 April Wisteria Kintengu_01d 04 April Wisteria Kintengu_02d 04 April Wisteria Kintengu_03d 04 April Wisteria Kintengu_04d

The field of the past
All awash in purple waves
Lupins in the rain
Even the crows can’t call us
Away from its pale presence

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(for Robb)

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards.
Tarot_11_Justice

To see all the Hanafuda/Tarot tanka posted to date, click here.

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…”

The Poet of the Godless

Crows Gulls and Ducks Charlottetown Harbour_20131229

I am the poet of the godless,
The poet of the truly moral,
The women and men who look,
Not to eternity with dogma-dazzled eyes,
But see the present,
And the future generations,
And the past generations,
The ones who guess at
What a fine and finite thing is this world;
The men who hold other men
In their arms at night
And their hearts all day;
The women who have found their way
To the love of other women
And know the strength of that bond;
The men who love women,
The women who love men,
And know each other as equals;
The humans who in strength
And weakness give us a world
Teeming with their descendants;
The mothers and the fathers
And the grandmothers and the grandfathers,
And the aunts and the uncles,
And the children and the childless;
All who are neither afraid of the dark
Nor enthralled by the light,
And respect death as much as life.

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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…”

New Year’s Day

Andrew North Shore New Year's Day

Photo by Christine Trainor

You sea! I resign myself to you also….I guess what you mean
Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself

A single black crow glides slowly over the snow-covered dunes
The sun for all its brilliance has lost all power to warm
The wind churns the white ice in the impossibly blue waters
A wind so cold it cramps our hands in the time it takes for us to pose
For pictures against this deeply indifferent landscape
So uncaring we often mistake it for hostile
For we have come here together for over thirty years
To talk and laugh and cry and marvel
Ultimately, to fall silent amid its beauty
And yet, for all this, it has yet to give a single sign
That it knows we are here or ever were
It cannot even bother to gloat
That its rocks and sands and waters and ice and snow and winds
Will continue to grind together for eons after we are gone
And although it would never take the time to teaches us
I have nonetheless learned from all our talks and walks in it
That love is no more meant to be requited than life is meant to last
Love like life itself is meant to be lived and experienced
And shared when it may
And always lost
As singular as a black crow flying low over snow-covered dunes
As common as the wind that freezes the water of our blood
Which is nothing more or less than the tears of the sea

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(for Christine Trainor)

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…”

I learned very late to love birds

Crows and gulls in Victoria Park_20131229

I learned very late to love birds
I regret it a little
But now it’s all arranged
from Birds, at Random by Jacques Prévert

It was the sound of distress
That focused my attention
On the tall spruce tree
Repeated
High pitched
This was no love call
As I watched and listened
Failing to pinpoint the source

A hawk suddenly launched into flight
x     Gliding low and slow
x               Apparently unable
x           Or uninterested
x      In eating the alarmist
Three crows appeared on the scene
Began their sequential assaults
  x        The hawk glided lazily away
  x              The three crows swirling
x          Black electrons
 x    Circling a nucleus
Simultaneously repellent and attractive

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Depth Charge: One of the many pleasures that a trip to Prince Edward Island affords is a visit to The Bookman bookstore, whose shelves never fail to contain a surprise and a delight. This time it was a stained paperback from the Penguin Modern European Poets series, number 3 of 6, Selections from ‘Paroles’ by Jacques Prévert, translated and introduced by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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…”