Monthly Archives: October 2013

Korean Sijo Poem by Yi Myunghan

If on the pathways of dreams
a footprint could leave a mark,
The road by your window
though rough with rocks,
would soon wear smooth.
But in dreams paths take no footprints.
I mourn the more for that.

꿈에 다니는 길이 자최 곧 나량이면
님이 집 창 밖에 석로이라도 닳으련마는
꿈길이 자최 없으니 그를 슬허하노라

Yi Myunghan (1595-1645)

Eye Rhyme Poem #2

Death at the Mall

If in slaughter there is laughter
Do we comb every womb,

Find what food sears the blood
To find the bomb before the tomb?

North Atlantic, 1943

My father was twenty six in this picture.
You can only see the side of his close shaved head.

He is sitting with a life vest on above the waves rolling alongside the troop ship,
somewhere in the north atlantic in 1943.

The sea below held all his fears
twisted into dark knots of German submarines.

Lots of boys were drunk; the ship reeked of vomit and the smell of fear.
Yet in the picture too, is hope;

there is and me and my brothers and mom
and saturday morning pancakes and camping trips in the Tetons.

It’s all there just off to the side and out of focus,
waiting, along with what didn’t happen,

just as real, just as possible,
as the sisters I never had or the young Army chaplain
who never made it beyond the beach.

Erasing Wallace Stevens

Erasure poems are made by whittling other poems down, to see if another poem lives inside the original. This is from “Postcards from the Volcano,” by Wallace Stevens:

Children picking our bones,
Quick as foxes on the hill.

The grapes
Made sharp air sharper by their smell…

With our bones
We left much more, left what still is–
The look of things, left what we felt, what we saw.

The spring clouds blow
Beyond our gate and the windy sky…

Still, weaving budded aureoles
Will speak our speech and never know.

A tatter of shadows peaked to white
gold of the opulent sun.