Two Poems from The Valley of Cranes

Phillip Foss

for yang wan-li (1127-1206)

I’ve tended this patch of dirt
for thirty years : herded ants ∙ pollinated
flowers ∙ seeded clouds

lying on my back the magnetic field
hums through my spine ; horsetail
cirrus are embedded in my irises

and though the tree’s shadow is freezing
my left arm ∙ the sun
is burning my right

this spring’s pollen fog
is growing in my armpits ∙
yeasts are blossoming in my bowels

but I’m confused who this is ∙
how he is merely this same dirt
I plant with leeks

in answer I light the juniper wood
fire ∙ freeing the milky way
to finally bloom

Natural Law

because the stone house
moves ∙ we worship ground

or wind blowing through bare trees
is unopposed ∙ imperialist ∙ with no

then it is indifference ∙ not
failure ∙ that casts
any life : white blossoms
on the black branch
are frozen rain

or the cicada is encased in clear ice

or the voluptuous
spring storm : blue mountains
obscured by the dust
of a million human bodies

or being no one ∙ not two
I find myself vegetal ∙ dead wood

forgive my non differentiation
the sun caused this

or embers fading ∙ disassembled dream :

wild quail eating cooked
rice ; flicker digging ants ;
larva burrowing tongue :

to cause the least suffering

we strive ∙ starve
no worship ∙ all worship

or one petal veers violet


Source. Illustration 1, Illustration 2


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