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there are songs
in the anger
of the waves
upon
the rocks
and the tearing
of the wind
through the long grass
in the plotting
of the clouds
gathering low
in the sky
and
in the droplets
whispering
upon the page
Jordan Gee May 21
God made me into a marionette
He pulled me from the dust
He scooped me out of coals.
He breathed life into my belly
and now they call me animated earth.
He carved my bones from alabaster stones
long buried under piles of pine needles and leaves
He sang songs of Light and Life
and put them in my ears
and taught me all the words
and cut me silver keys.
now i stand up tall
like the Lighthouse of Alexandria
or the Colossus of Rhodes
i take showers under jungle waterfalls
full of orchid petals
and with angel fish climbing up the rock walls.
my head and all my limbs are hanging by
golden silken strings and threads
and where I walk the moss and lichens grow.
He fashioned my eyes from glass
blown over the hot geysers
and sulfur springs
of thermopylae
and the salt basin dunes.
He plucked my pupils from the pregnant blackness
of the Void.
He struck them over steel and flint
and the sparks made it bright enough to see.
my heart is a time-piece
keeping minutes with its beats
like a great shadow cast behind a sphere.
the elements once kept me apart from me my identity,
I was a hungry ghost
walking around town like a hypodermic voodoo doll.
everytime I turned around
I tripped over another basket full of rattlesnakes
hissing from both ends.
I gave up and crossed my heart
and gave it over to the chemical egregore
hoping I would die while somehow staying alive
and learning how to fly away home-
so i could leave all the piles of ashes and teeth alone
and maybe plant a rose garden.

but God made of me a marionette
strung me up from strings of silken gold.
He breathes for me,
and dances me to the music of the spheres
and now the whole planet is a
Hanging Garden of the Fallen Babylon
and now I keep snakes
as exotic pets
and as company
when i’m lonely
and for afternoon tea.
I am suspended
EmVidar May 19
I listen to those songs
you hate
the ones where the words make no sense
but the meanings
you feel

-em vidar
The Shijing or **** Jing or Shih-Ching (“Book of Songs” or “Book of Odes”) is the oldest Chinese poetry collection, with the poems included believed to date from around 1200 BC to 600 BC. According to tradition the poems were selected and edited by Confucius himself. Since most ancient poetry did not rhyme, these may be the world’s oldest extant rhyming poems.

Shijing Ode #4: “JIU MU”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
thick with vines that make them shady,
we find our lovely princely lady:
May she repose in happiness!

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
whose clinging vines make hot days shady,
we wish love’s embrace for our lovely lady:
May she repose in happiness!

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
whose vines, entwining, make them shady,
we wish true love for our lovely lady:
May she repose in happiness!


Shijing Ode #6: “TAO YAO”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
its flowers are fragrant, and bright.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will manage it well, day and night.

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
its fruits are abundant, and sweet.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will make it welcome to everyone she greets.

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
it shelters with bough, leaf and flower.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will make it her family’s bower.


Shijing Ode #9: “HAN GUANG”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the South tall trees without branches
offer men no shelter.
By the Han the girls loiter,
but it’s vain to entice them.
For the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.

When cords of firewood are needed,
I would cut down tall thorns to bring them more.
Those girls on their way to their future homes?
I would feed their horses.
But the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.

When cords of firewood are needed,
I would cut down tall trees to bring them more.
Those girls on their way to their future homes?
I would feed their colts.
But the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.


Shijing Ode #10: “RU FEN”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down branches in the brake.
Not seeing my lord
caused me heartache.

By raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down branches by the tide.
When I saw my lord at last,
he did not cast me aside.

The bream flashes its red tail;
the royal court’s a blazing fire.
Though it blazes afar,
still his loved ones are near ...

It was apparently believed that the bream’s tail turned red when it was in danger. Here the term “lord” does not necessarily mean the man in question was a royal himself. Chinese women of that era often called their husbands “lord.” Take, for instance, Ezra Pound’s famous loose translation “The River Merchant’s Wife.” Speaking of Pound, I borrowed the word “brake” from his translation of this poem, although I worked primarily from more accurate translations. In the final line, it may be that the wife or lover is suggesting that no matter what happens, the man in question will have a place to go, or perhaps she is urging him to return regardless. The original poem had “mother and father” rather than “family” or “loved ones,” but in those days young married couples often lived with the husband’s parents. So a suggestion to return to his parents could be a suggestion to return to his wife as well.


Shijing Ode #12: “QUE CHAO”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove occupies it.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages will attend her.

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove takes it over.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages will escort her.

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove possesses it.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages complete her procession.


Shijing Ode #26: “BO ZHOU” from “The Odes of Bei”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This cypress-wood boat floats about,
meandering with the current.
Meanwhile, I am distraught and sleepless,
as if inflicted with a painful wound.
Not because I have no wine,
and can’t wander aimlessly about!

But my mind is not a mirror
able to echo all impressions.
Yes, I have brothers,
but they are undependable.
I meet their anger with silence.

My mind is not a stone
to be easily cast aside.
My mind is not a mat
to be conveniently rolled up.
My conduct so far has been exemplary,
with nothing to criticize.

Yet my anxious heart hesitates
because I’m hated by the herd,
inflicted with many distresses,
heaped with insults, not a few.
Silently I consider my case,
until, startled, as if from sleep, I clutch my breast.

Consider the sun and the moon:
how did the latter exceed the former?
Now sorrow clings to my heart
like an unwashed dress.
Silently I consider my options,
but lack the wings to fly away.



Chixiao (“The Owl”)
by Duke Zhou (c. 1100-1000 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Owl!
You've stolen my offspring,
Don't shatter my nest!
When with labors of love
I nurtured my fledglings.

Before the skies darkened
And the dark rains fell,
I gathered mulberry twigs
To thatch my nest,
Yet scoundrels now dare
Impugn my enterprise.

With fingers chafed rough
By the reeds I plucked
And the straw I threshed,
I now write these words,
Too hoarse to speak:
I am homeless!

My wings are withered,
My tail torn away,
My home toppled
And tossed into the rain,
My cry a distressed peep.

The Duke of Zhou (circa 1100-1000 BC), a member of the Zhou Dynasty also known as Ji Dan, played a major role in Chinese history and culture. He has been called “probably the first real person to step over the threshold of myth into Chinese history” and he may be the first Chinese poet we know by name today, and the spiritual ancestor of Confucius as well. The Duke was a capable and loyal regent for his young nephew King Cheng and successfully suppressed a number of rebellions. He has also been credited with writing the I Ching and the Book of Songs, also called the Book of Odes, and with creating yayue (“elegant music”) which became Chinese classical music. His poem “The Owl” was apparently written while he was away fighting on his nephew’s behalf, after court dissenters accused him of plotting to usurp the throne. Apparently the poem worked, as King Cheng welcomed his uncle back, and the Duke remained faithful till the end. Keywords/Tags: China, Chinese, translation, ode, odes, kingdom, king, duke, homeless, homelessness, homesick, homesickness

Keywords/Tags: Shijing, ****-Jing, Shih-Ching, translation, book, songs, odes, Confucius, Chinese, ancient, rhyme, rhyming, love, nature
shwiwi Apr 5
Oh, all the things you could be
If I wasn’t a mere fantast
Taking refuge in the solitary
Of my chamber.

The next Mona Lisa in the Louvre
Or the Bohemian Rapsody
Or the greatest film of all time, which was never made
Or maybe I’ll be the next William Wordsworth
And you, my muse

The vital to my soul
A Novocain to my pain
The yin to my yang
June to my Cash

But yet, here I sit
And decide to do noting
I learnt it the hard way
That potential isn’t a promise
If anything,
Potential, is the inception of a grandiose self-demolishing
For they said I got so much potential
So, I thought- I thought- I could just waste a little of them
Now, I got all wasted
          Left with nothing
          Watch everything slip away
          Through my very fingers

In the desert of sand,
I am a quicksand
Hell bent on bringing everyone down
In the desert of water,
Atlantic would never had a chance with me
For I have Titanic at my bottom
I call it my home now
I live with sea monsters
In the form of every child’s imagination

I’ll pretend that I finally had peace
And bring desert storms
And thunderstorms
And every disaster
At my wake
I'll particularly choose one fine beautiful morning

Take it world
This is what you get
For saying the word ‘potential’

I hope there’re ones like me
Who’d do the same
For the words: ‘hope’, ‘eternal love’
And the ultimate line,
‘It’s not you, it’s just me’
Because I know it's definitely me

May all of us bring you down
I can already see us forming an army
Like the skeletons in the Triumph of Death
Maybe if they never said the word,
I would’ve been the one who painted it
And hang it next to the alleged next Mona Lisa that you’d be
In the Louvre
Oh to be swept away in a melody
Caught in the maelstrom of a rhapsody.
The throbbing tide tugs our hearts
Like David charming Saul with his harp.

In intimate dance, soul and song entwine
Two notes forming a chord sublime.
The lyrics, an incantation, of unearthly hold,
Giving us the vigor to face the untold.

And one day our cadence will surely cease.
Our completed symphonies may bring peace.
Will our compositions instill life or death?
Will we exhale life before the last breath?
We all have a song in our hearts, yet we have the choice to use it to fill others with life or death.
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