The Soldier’s Dream

 

the soldier’s dream

I was fifteen when I went to the war

never built with my hands
never knew woman’s love
I’d tilled the soil
in my half schooled way

now I’m an old man
eighty and more

never came home
till now in this dream

you can’t imagine a road so far
track by the green river banks
goes along
willows all the way

yes eighty years have passed
the village with them

now just dry stones
snake haunts
everything gone to seed

people I pass on the way
look right through me

I want to tell familiar faces
how I met the ancients
how wet through
with tears
their clothes were
as if they’d been caught
without umbrellas

but they were
the sky themselves

all the way home
view clouded with weeping
I felt
if only
I were a ghost
there should
be tears
for me

after Cao Cao

1
the ocean
stands me
still
out loud

I make
these lines
deep blue

down from
the cliffs

enduring
above

how
fortunate
to feel
such passion

2
the road
is high and rough
and tortured –
like traveling up
some giant’s guts

bear in my path

and either side
anonymous growling

dusk is homeless
the callous sun
goes

strings on my back

a sleepless strum
and then I hum
accompany myself

a goose chimes in
wild as the wind

ragged as
these climbing crags

rude poem with moon

these lips on mine
‘this night until
the end of time’ –
which girl hasn’t
heard that line?

an open window
and

candle gone

simple
smile

curtains
parting

robes
drop

in the moon’s clear voice
my name

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