out on a spring wildflower-gazing expedition southeast of here with my Mom all day. we saw twinleaf, cut-leaved toothwort, trout lilies, hillsides covered with Dutchman’s breeches and spring beauties, and more hepatica than I’ve ever seen in one place before
a surprisingly large, intact stand of eastern hemlocks included stumps that were still alive at least a decade after they were cut, kept on life support by their adjacent relatives, continuing to grow scar tissue over the amputations year after year
we talked about life and death, family and friends, the state of the planet etc. on a gorgeous (and WARM) day
it’s undoubtedly good for my poetry to take a day off from it now and then. i might have enough brain power left to bang out an erasure poem before i go to sleep but it isn’t looking good, and i’ve abandoned another poem i’ve been working on off and on for the past two days because while it was highly clever it lacked any original insight, and while i’m sure i could still get it into decent shape i know it would never spark joy. so following Marie Kondo’s advice I am throwing it out
in today’s mail a new translation of a new-to-me contemporary Chinese poet, Zang Di: The Roots of Wisdom. it looks great. here’s part of the publisher’s description:
Zang Di (臧棣) is widely acknowledged as one of the leading poets and literary critics of his generation. In this new bilingual collection of his work, The Roots of Wisdom, he uses rich, emotional language to explore the natural world, including his beloved Weiming Lake at Peking University — his “Walden.” The lake has been a muse for him for more than 30 years. While Zang Di’s detailed observations often begin in nature, they go on to unearth insights into human psychology, relationships, contemporary life, and the mysteries of language.
Zang Di maintains a prolific writing practice (he composes one poem each day), and his unique style draws not only from nature but also from his extensive reading of Chinese and Western literature, and his travels through several continents.
here’s how the title poem concludes:
The wind arrives, and its casualness is conflicted; in the name of white clouds
are traces of those wild geese you like. People’s words fly, with no concern for direction.
The rain departs, and the vastness is lonely not paltry.
Your tears are rainbowed bandages.
These tangled things are again and again the apex of emptiness,
but they still plant their roots deep in a life of poetry.
overall, Zang Di’s poetry appears to have a higher density of abstractions than i’m used to, but with just enough concrete imagery to give me something to sink my teeth into, i hope
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- April Diary: premature encapsulation
- April Diary 2: talking frogs and brush strokes
- April Diary 3: stag beetle, wolf spider and fly
- April Diary 4: immersion
- April Diary 5: Dutchman’s breeches, sorcery, glutes
- April Diary 6: freedom, haiku, and Roscoe Holcomb
- April Diary 7: wolfish
- April Diary 9: sapsuckers, beginner’s mind, and Phoebe Giannisi
- April Diary 8: talking mushrooms, Utnapishtim, dead poet society
- April Diary 10: on not following myself
- April Diary 11: you may already be obsolete
- April Diary 12: flowers in hell
- April Diary 14: cardinal, coyote, owl
- April Diary 13: wildflowery
- April Diary 15: all my best friends are books
- April Diary 16: deer trails
- April Diary 17: comfort creatures
- April Diary 18: cruelest month, new Rumi, carpe noctem
- April Diary 19: onion snow
- April Diary 20: balancing on one foot, waiting for Armageddon
- April Diary 21: Where are the snows of yesterday?
- April Diary 22: serious riddles
- April Diary 23: earthy day
- April Diary 24: dueling banjos, a roomier Rumi, and some moving art
- April Diary 25: migration time
- April Diary 26: where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
- April Diary 27: half steam ahead!
- April Diary 28: failing upward, tumbleweed, new beasts
- April Diary 29: wildflowery
- April Diary 30: aging in place
- April Diary 31: in conclusion