For Nicole Phungrasamee Fein

Hope is encountered, variously
remembered, granted the patterns
of heaven—countless tiny
stars, oxalis hearts,
forget-me-nots, test sheets

Distant mountain ridgelines
flatten to paper in daylight
with every purposeful motion
night vision of timeless time
approaching the pulse of suspension

Metabolic edge of experiment,
the radiant points, scales and
variations of beads and dots
breathe benevolent notes, their
particular legibility of trackless

Resistance, deep-rooted, time
becomes sight incarnate, embodied
control framing chaos, space beyond
clarity, branches of lavender, thistle
grinding binding wetting the colors

A meteor shower—constellation
as memory of perfection

From Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Norma Cole. Used with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

translated from the Chinese by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi

Autumn wind chases in
From all directions
And a thousand chaste leaves
Give way.

Scatter in me the seeds
Of a thousand saplings.
Let grow a grassy heaven.
On my brow: a sun.
This bliss is yours, Living
World, and alone it endures.
Music at midnight.
Young wine.
Lovers hand in hand
By daylight, moonlight.
Living World, hold me
In your mouth,

Slip on your frivolous shoes
And dance with me. My soul
Is the wild vine
Who alone has grasped it,
Who has seen through the awful plot,
Who will arrive in time to vanquish
The river already heavy with blossoms,
The moon spilling light onto packs
Of men. What is sadder than witless
Wolves, wind without borders,
Nationless birds, small gifts
Laden with love’s intentions?

Fistfuls of rain fall hard, fill
My heart with mud. An old wind
May still come chasing in.
Resurrection fire. And me here
Laughing like a cloud in trousers,
Entreating the earth to bury me.

Copyright © 2018 by Tracy K. Smith. Used with the permission of the author.