To suffer one's death and to be
reborn is not easy.
The waning moon rises just
ahead of morning.
Will loss deepen all day,
regret shape the graying clouds?
Willow catkins drift, earth
listens to its lord.
Sunlight broken by leafy alders
spangles the path— burnishes
the tip of a pine needle drawn
by a one-hair brush on the sky.
What you want
may not sit with you at the table
but there is a white barn across the valley
full of many things—
iron tools, rope halter, rag, dusty
shafts of light.
Little sparrow, my breath of soul
makes brief flights and hops.
I too carry weeds in my mouth.
Emperor Hadrian hoped to enter death
with eyes open as I've seen
your brothers do.
Maybe we'll recognize the way
and meet at the threshold among those
we love for millions of days.
A snowy egret in the reeds,
utterly still, turtles in the gloom—
if that's a catfish down there,
it had more than a mile to walk
from the North Fork River.
I carried my heart hell and gone
for thrilling moments—
placed in other hands,
it grew heavier.
The old frog seems content
in his wet spot—
he blinks, and his pores go on seeing.
Today, I am
the gypsy knife,
tomorrow the wound,
but the knife
is also weeping
The shadow of a vulture
passes through a flock of red-winged
blackbirds foraging—they rise
and settle back, their koto strummed.
Autumn light arrives
and a few clouds,
feathery, like the nuptial plumage
of a Great White Egret.
The ungraspable blue, lifting
two hawks above Grass Mountain
this evening, offers a faint
star to anyone at all.
Richard Jarrette is the author of Beso the Donkey (MSU Press 2010) which was awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry by the Midwest Independent Pubishers Association in 2011 and was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year. Beso has been translated into Chinese and is used as a text from elementary to MFA programs for English/Writing and The Influence of Buddhism on Contemporary Literature. His next collection is entitled A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances. He is currently writing a play in the manner of Euripides for The Peter Frisch Studio.