While We Waited for His Love: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Rouged Lips”

One-thousand strands of worry
X    Wrapping a single,
X         Absent man,
X              A single kiss
X                   In a midnight garden,
During my lifetime we’ve killed
Half the wild animals on the planet
X    —but rescued so many, many
X          puppies and kittens—
All of this happened
While I gazed out windows
Waiting for him to arrive,
X    The ice caps melted
X         And the forests burned
While I cruised online
For sex with strangers,
X    The oceans acidified
X         And the fish
X              Went the way of the dodo,
All of this happened.
While I waited for love.

AGG20141008

Tune: “Rouged Lips”
Loneliness
by Li Qingzhao

Fine rain urges the falling petals,
And soon spring will be fled
Love it as I may.
A twinge in my aching heart,
And I am overwhelmed by a thousand sad thoughts,
Secluded in my lonely chamber.

Impossible to get out of this mood of depression,
Moving from one end of the balustrade to the other.
Where is he, the one dear to my heart?
The road by which he may return I cannot glimpse,
Withered grass stretching to the farthest skies.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

点绛唇李清照
寂寞深闺,柔肠一寸愁千缕。惜春春去,几点催花雨。
倚遍阑干,只是无情绪。人何处,连天衰草,望断归来路。

點絳唇李清照
寂寞深閨,柔腸一寸愁千縷。惜春春去,幾點催花雨。
倚遍闌干,只是無情緒。人何處,連天衰草,望斷歸來路。

Diǎn jiàng chún lǐqīngzhào
jìmò shēnguī, róucháng yīcùn chóu qiān lǚ. Xīchūn chūn qù, jǐ diǎn cuī huā yǔ.
Yǐ biàn lángān, zhǐshì wú qíngxù. Rén hé chù, liántiān shuāi cǎo, wàng duàn guīlái lù.

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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Climate climax

obinson's Island PEI_20130803_134433

The ravenous sea
Will swallow one thousand homes
The littoral waves
Lapping the soft—red—sand—cliffs
Insatiable—warm—rising

AGG20140212

Depth Charge: This poem occurred after I read an article about the projected effects of global warming on coastal erosion on Prince Edward Island.

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…”

A Pantoum Lullaby

A pantoum lullaby by AGG

Even the sea now suffers a change,
In the dark depths sightless monsters stir,
Roused by shifting currents strange and warm,
Acid on their tongues, gasping for breath.

In the dark depths sightless, monsters stir,
Father endless lies as waters rise,
Acid on their tongues, gasping for breath,
Scraping the final pearl from its shell.

Father, endless lies as waters rise
Grow in coral confusion, as we—
Scraping the final pearl from its shell—
Sing our extinguishing lullabies.

Growing choral confusion as we—
Roused by shifting currents strange and warm—
Sing our extinguishing lullabies:
Even the sea now suffers a change.

AGG20140209

Depth Charge: Inspired by the always inspiring John Mackenzie, I have tried my hand at a pantoum, albeit a gloomy one motivated by the predicted mass extinction of ocean life caused by overfishing, acidification caused by global warming, and anoxic dead zones as a result of climate change and pollution. Literary inspirations include Walt Whitman, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as quoted at 2:28 in the Laurie Anderson song, Blue Lagoon

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…”

A Walk in the Garden

Huangshan Yellow Mountain

A Walk in the Garden

“Is this a dream
or is this something
we cannot avoid?”

walking hand in hand
she said she was
with her daughter

(in this dream remember
mountains will represent facts
they will be very small
and in the distance)

they could see the grey
desert in front of them
she knew she must

let go
at the edge of the green
her daughter would go on

without her and
she saw in her eyes
only salt-stained dust

(in this dream
remember
mountains will represent facts
they will be in the distance
you will be walking towards them)

AGG20131107 (Redux of 1989 original)

Depth Charge: A few nights back I had a long talk with a whale in one of my dreams. He detailed the problems a deteriorating environment was having on the whales, but he seemed quite resigned, almost at peace with this. Upon waking I thought about the strangeness of that dream and then dreams in general and this poem that I wrote in 1989 after talking to Ostraka Clatter about the strange dreams she was having during her pregnancy.

In this world where sharks

Parc Lafontaine Montreal

In this world where sharks
Are older than trees—by far—
Rodent newcomers’
Primate cousins run riot—
Fuck—shit—all over the place

AGG20131015

Depth charge:
Earliest known sharks: 420 million years ago
Earliest known trees: 370 million years ago
Earliest known rodents: 65 million years ago
Earliest known primates: 55 million years ago
Anatomically modern humans: 195,000 years ago

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

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

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…”

On Northumberland Park Beach

Northumberland Park PEI IMG_20130731_163050

Little swallows fly
To and from their red cliff nests
Black and white flashes
In the brilliant sun sparkling—
Ceaselessly—waters blue-green

Mother—here you stood
To receive surreal the news
Your brother was dead
Killed in a cloud of red dust
At the age of seventeen

If we’d paid enough
Attention we could have marked
The fifty years since
Catalogued the sea changes
Of the eroding sandstone

Counted the fallen
Fir trees set adrift—noted
Each generation
Of sweet tiny winged thing
This red earth reiterates

But we’re not possessed
Of such constancy—only
Sporadic remembrances
Of a man who was so dear
To you—to me just a name

So silent I stand
The blue-green waves at my feet
Red cliffs at my back
Swallows flashing black and white
On Northumberland Park Beach

AGG20130802
(For Gerard, killed in a car accident on Aug 7, 1963. My mother tells me that the family was camping at Northumberland Park when the news of his death came. As I was only 2 years old at the time, I do not have any memory of this or my my uncle. My summer vacations on Prince Edward Island have become amazingly intense mixtures of real, present natural beauty and potent memory. This year’s visit seems to have been designed to make this poem possible on the 50th anniversary of his death.)

To read all the Tanka, and writing about Tanka, 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…”

Red blood bleeds into red dirt

Blooming Point Dead Squirrel IMG_20130730_173008

Little deaths add up
Another fish kill up west
A squirrel on the road
Red blood bleeds into red dirt
The songbirds sing about it

AGG20130801

Depth Charge: Fish Kills
Second Fish Kill in Three Days

To read all the Tanka, and writing about Tanka, 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…”

Even as a child in the cold waves

Sea pens by Brian Skerry

Photograph by Brian Skerry

Even as a child in the cold waves,
I eagerly searched for the hidden
Hermit crabs, starfish, little lobsters,
The proof that other worlds existed.

AGG20130424

If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, 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…”

The clouds swim above

The clouds swim above The city—a coral reef Teeming with strange fish Dreaming about life beyond Their beautiful bright blue bowl AGG20130415

Photograph by Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station

The clouds swim above
The city—a coral reef
Teeming with strange fish
Dreaming about life beyond
Their beautiful bright blue bowl

AGG20130415

To read all the Tanka, and writing about Tanka, 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…”