Monthly Archives: May 2018

A Flower Does Not Talk by Zenkei Shibayama

 

A Flower Does Not Talk

Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
The world of the flower, the whole of
the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower, the truth
of the blossom;
The glory of eternal life is fully shinning here.

Zenkei Shibayama

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Monet Refuses the Operation by Lisel Mueller

 

Monet Refuses the Operation

by Lisel Mueller
  * * *
Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
      * * *
Some comments on the poem posted on youtube:
      * * *

The phrase, “light becomes what it touches,” is the best poetic and metaphysical summary of quantum mechanics I have ever seen.

This flawless poem pushes me to the brink of happiness and sorrow. It rates up there with Dover Beach and Musee De Beaux Arts. Profound thanks!

A lovely poem. True wisdom is in knowing that there are no right or normal ways of seeing the world. Everyone does it differently. Artists like to share most people don’t.