One Hundred More Poems from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth

By Kenneth Rexroth

An assemblage of soft chinese language verse which delicately discover the worlds of affection, nature, and meditation.

Love and the Turning yr features a choice from the Yueh Fu—folk songs from the Six Dynasties interval (fourth-fifth centuries A.D.). many of the songs are basic, erotic lyrics. a few are attributed to mythical courtesans, whereas others can have been sung at harvest fairs or marriage celebrations. as well as the folks songs, Rexroth deals a large sampling of chinese language verse: works via 60 assorted poets, from the 3rd century to our personal time. Rexroth regularly translated chinese language poetry—as he said—“solely to delight myself.” And he created, with extraordinary good fortune, English models which stand as poems of their personal correct.

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Example text

Though the past is like a stone thrown into the lake, there but irretrievable, still, years later, stumbling in the gallery of pictures upon Souvenir de Mortefontaine, painted when we were children there, I got a chill up my spine as if, on the other side of the lake from where the boat drifts, we’re still tying flies or gutting the trout we caught. And standing there, a velvet rope delineating the distance between where I was and where I had been, I felt like the fish that went for the fake, its innards, its still-beating heart, tossed into the trees where the birds waited to feed.

I resolved then and there to leave the signs he would seek, looking for a way home: a red ribbon tied to a twig might catch his eye from a distance, and would be like the voice that calls out at dusk, Over here! 40 3. Sudden rain: there was nowhere to go but into the library, where the shelves bowed with the weight of old books. I pulled one down—a story in which the mother fails to come to the gate. The rhetoric was simple and struck me as dull, like vegetables grown in an overwatered garden. Whether the story mentioned her thwarted love didn’t matter: by tuberculosis or arsenic, the end was the same.

I follow the couple to where they glimpsed her; halfway through the tunnel I see her cowering, though I don’t think she sees me. I feign exhaustion, take my foot in my hand, drop something for her to eat, she’s so thin. She takes it, takes a long time to eat it—it’s a Jolly Rancher, a watermelon one. It’s a wedding but the children are dying; I’m trying to help but I haven’t a clue, I can’t keep them merry, can’t keep them from leaping. But this girl eats my candy; she’s scared but not of me. 21 WEST 12TH STREET He’s belly-down in the nest you’ve made on the floor in the add-on that was my room when I was small; the door is open so you can keep an eye on him.

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