Thursday, June 21, 2012

Great Wall of China

On this side, ruled lines,
Rivers bridged, terraced fields,
Lintels and windows,
Roads leading to other roads
And those to highways
That led to the capital.

On the other, shifting dunes,
Tracks of horses,
Wild game slain by wilder men:
Ibex, pheasant, hare.
Mounted riders glimpsed on distant ridges,
Watching, wheeling, gone.

A land whose maps dwelt only in memory
But for those rare nights when,
Sketched by firelight in sand or cinders,
They took earthly form,
Revealed their contours to new eyes,
And scattered with morning's wind.

Now one who stood atop the wall wondered
Had it all been this way before its building -
The two landscapes growing
Ever more strange to each other,
Like brothers raised in separate houses,
Or had the coming of the wall made it so?

And who alive could even
Recall the answer,
Resurrect it from its
Tomb of time?
Surely none he knew,
Or would ever know.

Such questions were not worth the asking,
He concluded, stretching himself for slumber
In the high guardhouse that sat astride the wall,
The two lands recumbent on either side.
But still he found the question circled him warily,
A gaunt stray skulking at camp's edge.

When he finally slept, he dreamt of wild horses.

Great Wall by Adam Sass



Anonymous Tamara M said...


thank you

9:37 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Dream of wild horses
hooves pounding the beach
cast up like the drift wood
Home too far to reach
A stallion, a galleon
with mares in her hold
and pirates to sink her
for war chests of gold.

9:43 pm  
Anonymous see drum said...

good to see you all. Missed you. enjoyed all of this. have a good day.

10:37 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

its such a nice point to look out over. I always enjoy my visits here. Always inspires something in me.

11:14 pm  
Anonymous Virgilio Gavia said...

this, for me, is a situation where answers are no longer required. that's it. i'd rather dwell in its mystery.

4:08 am  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

I found an audio library of Henry David Thoreau's Walden on YouTube where a man reads aloud. I remember my teachers in those early grades and story time. We had to put our heads down and listen to a chapter from a book she's selected. It was so easy to imagine myself as a character in the story or some other inspired by the reading.

11:54 am  
Anonymous see drum said...

John said: But I'm changed for the better. Climbed out of my own pouch.

I replied: Only you could connect the dots, with your own brand of humor and wise knowing.

good to see John around. And yes, gardens take a lot of work, but is good to have food for winter.

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Enjoy the gardens while we're still able to grow food, John. I recommend Thoreau's lifestyle at least for vacations but there are those who will never see anything so beautiful as a tomato plucked ripe from its cluster nor enjoy this love apple that once was considered poison.

6:04 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Thanks friends for meeting a while on the wild side of the wall. As a kid I enjoyed joining the dots. There was always a picture. Older I bought a book of erotic ‘joining the dot’ pictures. Something is wrong. The Great Wall is a dragon formed by dots.

Liu Zhishan -
Built upon miles and miles of mountains,
Dotted with strong fortresses both on hilltops and ridges.
Weathering three thousand years of wind and rain,
Transforms into dancing dragon in earth’s hilly forest.

Joining the dots caused much pain. I’m with Midnight,

“Dream of wild horses
hooves pounding the beach
cast up like the drift wood
Home too far to reach……”

Drinking Horse at the Foot of the Great Wall
Chen Lin (? ~ 217)

A drinking horse at the foot of the Great Wall,
The chill of the water hurts its bones.
Go talk to the local officer,
Stay not, young man, is all his advice.
The authority follows only its own schedule,
Hounding more and more countrymen into the project.
Who should have died in the battlefield,
Rather than labouring gloomily here day and night.
The Great Wall is extending all the time,
Well exceeding three thousand miles in length.
At the construction sites engaged many men, young and healthy,
Widows, nothing but widows stay behind thousand miles away at home.
Some were clever and did write back, telling their wives,
"Marry soon and wait no more. Take a good care
Of your new family and remember ---
Your lost husband once in a while"

Midnight Bev you also take me back to primary school and the teacher reading, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’. Also, bit later as a kid I’d hitch hiked to Paris where the girl who gave me a lift invited me to her flat and introduced me to Thoreau, her German girlfriend and the joys of international fraternity. We were all students then..........

8:19 am  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Dear John, How delightful to picture you hitchhiking. I never dared to prove my mother right when she lied about me. She called the children's home and claimed she passed me hitch hiking to Brunswick one Saturday night when I was fifteen and babysitting. I didn't appreciate her concern since she relinquished responsibility for me and I still had so much wisdom yet to acquire. I couldn't appreciate her reasoning or justifications. My mother would have picked you up if the kids weren't in the car. She was that kind of girl. That is not to say that anything untoward happened nor to deny anything. That is simply what I know of my Mom. I am told most recently that I look like her. I used to hate that because I hated her. How foolish hate is.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous see drum said...

John said: secret places. Yesterday two ladies offered me help in the garden for no return. It was a surprise

I replied: Sometimes we are in contact with others, just to get a sense of the magnanimity of the natural bounty that with our effort benefits, others and self and the general idea: we are not in life alone

One of my themes is self determination, minimal gov't interference and the power of people and out of the way places, not yet paved over by concrete.

so gardens and for fun or profit, as in the story I told: there is an understanding: Being isolated comes with some downside, but when you understand a genuine offer of mutual benefit and enterprise, it is a new relationship, done because the energy was proper and we knew it.

be well. makes me smile. How so far away and in different worlds we are, and yet... small bits and pieces of my story and energy reach out. and you were there.

4:30 am  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

and here with me where only we can see with our vivid imaginations. Who says we aren't world travelers. I really appreciate this new form of getting and keeping in touch. I am not able to get out as well as I was able and since I lost my best friend, it is even more difficult.

5:12 pm  
Anonymous see drum said...

I have to laugh.

John said: Sagacity had best be balanced by humility.

I replied: was just one of those days. wrote a blog, posted it, and now tell myself: "Forget About It."

Trust all is good with John and his Garden and Family and more,

not sure what gets into me, when I find a topic and just do it. Makes me laugh. Good to see you. Your comment made me laugh, and that is reason enough for such a post. be well. and thanks.

4:30 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

I am a worry wart when friends drop out though I don't stress overmuch. I'm no stranger to loss and I wail to the wind on sea cliffs which is where I met John one imaginary evening. My evenings are different than yours and his. Distance does that. It is good to hear your garden grows well and bountifully.

5:48 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Midnite - I'll be around a while. I wasn't quick to respond because my imagination isn’t as fast and free as your own. I too have the cares of the world and they occupy time. But, you have introduced me to the East Coast. I was even thinking of a visit. “with a dash of Indian blood” particularly linked this Williams poem to you.

To Elsie

The pure products of America
go crazy--
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure--

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from Monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags-succumbing without
save numbed terror

under some hedge of choke-cherry
or viburnum-
which they cannot express--

Unless it be that marriage
with a dash of Indian blood

will throw up a girl so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease or murder

that she'll be rescued by an
reared by the state and

sent out at fifteen to work in
some hard-pressed
house in the suburbs--

some doctor's family, some Elsie--
voluptuous water
expressing with broken

brain the truth about us--
her great
ungainly hips and flopping breasts

addressed to cheap
and rich young men with fine eyes

as if the earth under our feet
an excrement of some sky

and we degraded prisoners
to hunger until we eat filth

while the imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in

the stifling heat of September
it seems to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car

William Carlos Williams

I think you throw off more than isolated flecks. You could start a forest fire. What does that last line mean, “no one to drive the car”?

12:43 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Seedrum. I love your stuff. Please don't apologise. 'Sagacity' made me think. Its a word I'd never used and gave new form to my thoughts. I realised I was predjuced against the sagacious. Sagacity of others depends on ones viewpoint.

My wife is home, praticing the church organ for tomorrow. My 3 children are all well. The youngest, Tom aged 30 was home a few days after returning from hydro electric engineering work on about 24 dams in South Africa. I retire in October and am thinking of either some brief travel or some Buddhist or Sufi experience.

1:03 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Thank you for sharing To Elsie with me, John. It is written in a style I use among others. My personal favorite by Williams is This Is Just To Say. Yes, I could indeed set sparks flying and ignite the whole forest were it not for extreme care learned from my Indian ancestors and the fact that Maine has lots of water and remains greener than most places.
I read in the forward of a text book, that Robert Frost repeated "and miles to go before I sleep" because he couldn't think of anything to rhyme with sleep. That is an 'ass'umption of the fore of that 'umption'. I do not presume to know what an author means unless I am able to ask. I know what it means to me.
I interpret the poem as her Indian blood longing for freedom from all that has become of her home and self. She wants no spoilers cares not for outside influences with their destructive greed. Let them consume the waste they create
Follow me through this foreign forest where the carpet is slick with rusted needles and fresh with the scent of pine. In this stillness,where ocean breezes and tall canopies provide cool bedrooms for the creatures of the night, be very quiet and look closely to discover. These eyes have been taught by my father to "see something in everything and connections, too". Thus did a published poet critique my work when he was head of Morse High School's English department. His name was Richard Aldridge and he wrote eight collections of his own work as a Maine writer. I gifted a handwritten copy of the letter he wrote to the English department of That school. I was then, a janitor of that department and his teachers were buzzing about me. He asked if he could review my work and I had the audacity to insist on a serious critique since I wasn't truly impressed nor did I know he'd published eight volumes. I expect that my grandsons will or perhaps won't appreciate my work and may publish it. I have many handwritten journals as well as online work. I hope you enjoy this response as much as I enjoyed the afternoon I spent researching. I enjoy your visits.

6:29 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Thanks midnite for sharing time with me. I looking into several poems by Richard Aldridge and though I liked them they, like Frosts were too tidy for me. Much prefer Williams. His 'This is just to say' is perfect.

"Follow me through this foreign forest where the carpet is slick with rusted needles and fresh with the scent of pine. In this stillness,where ocean breezes and tall canopies provide cool bedrooms for the creatures of the night, be very quiet and look closely to discover."

Please send me more of your work. Here is one of mine.

To a Larch in the Mountains of Slovakia.

Her rust rosettes were veiled in pure, soft snow.
Weeping she said,
‘Write for me!’

And because I loved her
and she was alone
and with no voice
I wrote,

‘I am waiting
in the dark green forest of spruce and pine
till spring to give you:
bursting rosettes of young love,
joy in new life,
then summer sun and sparkling waterfall,
your princess of The Emerald Lake.’

‘Waiting by the frozen lake,
white with snow,
icicles growing on the waterfall
my needles softly falling.’

4:47 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

My lines were inspired by my reading of Williams poem for the first time and your question. It is not my usual style though it came as easily as words do. I suppose it is a matter of inspiration and reader preference. I confess that I needed to read through To Elsie a few times to comprehend what Williams was suggesting. As I said, interpretation belongs to the reader. I will read your lovely words a few more times before commenting. Third time through It seems the princess, winter barren, waits mournfully to renew all that is love, life and joy, to share it with hope whose frosted lances began as dripping crystal needles until the weight of the bitter winter overcomes them and they fall silently into the blanket of snow.

Errands on a summer day
await drying hair
heavy with length
though thinner in silver,
Brush strokes paint
through mousy browns
and remembered luster
of honey gold
and chestnut hues

And now I must run.

5:20 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

"..of honey gold
and chestnut hues

And now I must run."

As you say reader interpretation is all we can do. Thats why I love your last line which I read as climax.."Now I must run!"

What does that other last line mean to me, “no one to drive the car”?
I cycle and walk and cars pass with dark windows. It is a common experience. Where are they going and why? They could have no drivers and yet the passengers are driven.

Lets run !

9:25 am  
Anonymous see drum said...

John said: Thanks for leaving an open door. One day I'll run with the breeze.

My reply: lays in wait. Hot and Stuffy. No breeze

and I find the most of pleasant surprise. One blog, with so many entries extending the life of an on-going conversation, with self and others. Endless and yet, in cosmic terms, sometimes terminated for reason beyond our control, yet...endless.

not sure virtual will serve me as I go to Jupiter and beyond. but then, who knows.

thanks for coming by and reminding me: How much I like you and coming here, virtually strangers, and yet.....

8:55 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Take the rhythm anywhere
waves from pebbles tossed
heartbeats pounding, hoof beats
cadence of a march
poetry without a rhyme
slap, clap, tapping, sounds
puffs from propellar blades
of grass.
See, feel what I mean?

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

What a lovely moment
such a place in time
Connected with such rhythm
hearts will always rhyme

1:56 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Seedrum with his Jupiter has me thinking along with Giordano Bruno.

Thanks for those poems midnite but just now I try to imagine gold threads to lift me from my dungeon.

2:40 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

in your dungeon
a crack there in its wall
work at it
even if your fingers bleed
until the thinnest ray
of sun shines through
on a golden thread
emerging from a crack
upon the the floor.
Courage is that tiny sprout
daring to grow
in your gloom.

12:09 am  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Acres of words, miles before sleep but the answer may be where we are, a tiny shoot.

1:39 pm  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

He thinks aloud
to himself
of many journeys
across acres
rivers, oceans
of time and place,
adrift in dreams
of golden strands
in her hair
turned silver
in the moonlight.
and is lonelier still
for his dreams.

3:29 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

That is just beautiful. Many thanks. Soon I will tell of my recent journey to a remote cabin and lighthouse x

9:21 am  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

Pleading To The Gods and Goddesses

Take me to my home
where loss is a nightmare?
No! More!
Where I find ME
and loving understanding.
Where I am the matter
that matters.
What's the matter
with ME?
Multiply me
by your power

1:57 pm  
Anonymous John Pendrey said...

Midnite -thats heady stuff and I would stay and commune with Gods and Goddesses but I must hang out my washing, weed the beans and marrows and then go to my afternoon and evening jobs. I hope there will be time x

8:49 am  
Anonymous Beverly VanBuren said...

My truth is that my prayers are heard and answered. I do not pray to join you just yet but keep hoping as I will and maybe, somewhere, next time. In the meantime, and its been truly meaner than Maine is green and that's saying a lot, my spirit visits in the wind on the wings of unconditional and true love as God intended it to be. Like my account on Multiply has been, totally free.

1:14 pm  

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