The sound of her silk skirt has stopped.
On the marble pavement dust grows.
Her empty room is cold and still.
Fallen leaves are piled against the doors.
Longing for that lovely lady
How can I bring my aching heart to rest?
The above poem was written by Wu-ti (187-57 b.c.) when his mistress, Li Fu-jen, died. Unable to bear his grief, he sent for wizards from all parts of China, hoping that they would be able to put him into communication with her spirit. At last one of them managed to project her shape on to a curtain. The emperor cried:
Is it or isn’t it?
I stand and look.
The swish, swish of a silk skirt.
How slow she comes!”
The poem’s about bereavement.
Ezra Pound also translated this poem. I’m a fan. And a fan of Imagist poetry. I want that
I’ve been pointed in the direction of haiku this weekend. It’s been a bit of an agonised weekend. Re-reading this poem has revealed I’m suffering a bereavement, of sorts. And I have to let go or I will thwart my journey. No time now for shadows on curtains. I’m calm.
Haiku is hesychasm. Is about listening.
Powerful stuff poetry.
- A Haiku for Science [Dynamics of Cats] (scienceblogs.com)
- You Exist In My Song vs. You Exist In My Poem (2) (poemagic.wordpress.com)
- Walt Whitman Poems: The Last Invocation. Poetry Corner (newgrandmas.com)