Saturday, October 18, 2008

Poem: Hungry Ghosts 2

1. The Grand Historian Makes a Virtue of Necessity

2. The Scholar Minister Gives Career Advice

He has come to display his respect and so court my support,
this young scholar who topped the imperial examination,
xxxxxlike so many before him year after year.

Already he follows the fashion of snipping a sleeve.
Already he wears a fine powder to whiten his face,
xxxxxaccentuate his swallow brows.

He refreshes this ashen room like spring rain. A young bamboo
at once strong and supple, he flowers but yearns to buckle
xxxxxhis body in a public robe.

In my hands The Sayings—the graying calligraphy,
the bamboo ribs bound by a belt of twine and worn
xxxxxby age and use. The sage’s words

are imperial edicts engraved on the heart’s bronze urn.
He’s repeating his question. I answer, Virtue is forged
xxxxxthrough loyal service to the court.


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