japonisme: whatever you can

24 October 2007

whatever you can


It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,

Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.

The girls liked saying the words,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked

when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier

and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,

the gnats and black flies
weren't out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn't risen

from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.

I loved these girls. The world
beyond Brigantine
awaited their beauty and beauty

is what others want to own.
I'd keep that
to myself. The obvious

was so sufficient just then.
Sandpiper. Red-wing
Blackbird. "Yes," I said.

But already we were near the end.
Praise refuge,
I thought. Praise whatever you can.

Stephen Dunn

(reprinted from Between Angels, Poems by Stephen Dunn, by permission of the author and WW Norton & Company Inc. Copyright © 1989 Stephen Dunn.)

The Japanese regard the crane as a symbol of good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. It also represents fidelity, as Japanese cranes are known to mate for life.

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Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

So utterly gorgeous. Thank you.

24 October, 2007 17:50  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

your comment touches me so deeply--thank you

24 October, 2007 18:01  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...


25 October, 2007 01:21  
Blogger Changes in the Wind said...

The video was absolutely wonderful......Grace and beauty beyond compare.

25 October, 2007 10:10  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

princess, changes--

thank you both. i was so happy to come across the video while looking for something else.

and dunn keeps amazing me anew

26 October, 2007 07:53  
Blogger Sabine said...

Pure beauty...

28 October, 2007 05:11  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

The poem is really nice too...

31 October, 2007 07:11  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you david; i'm glad you like it

31 October, 2007 11:31  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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