Archives for posts with tag: evening
Mulberry Street NYC c1900 LOC 3g04637u edit

Mulberry Street NYC, c. 1900. Image courtesy of the United States Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s been a year,
Yet your presence lingers
in strangers who cross

the road towards me.

In a quest to educate myself and use my time more constructively I’ve scheduled reading before bedtime. In addition to poet and writer Salena Godden’s memoir, Springfield Road, and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, I’ve been reading two or three Chinese poems (in translation).

In the windfall month when I bought Bukowski’s Pleasures of the Damned, I also picked up an anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry translated by renowned scholar David Hinton. It’s taken me nearly a year and a half to delve into my indulgence.

One of the great amusements of some of these poems is the scene-setting provided by the titles. Consider for example:

“On the Summit above Tranquil-Joy Temple” (p. 409)
“On a Boat Crossing Hsieh Lake” (p. 414)
“Written on a Wall at Halfway-Mountain Monastery” (p. 355)
“At Truth-Expanse Monastery, In the Dharma-Master’s West Library” (p. 224)
“Staying Overnigh in Hsü’s Library. Hsieh Shih-Hou and I are Driven Crazy by Rats” (p. 341)

The titles are not all about libraries and monasteries –

“8th Month, 9th Sun: Getting Up in the Morning, I Go Out to the Latrine and Find Crows Feeding on the Maggots There” (p. 340)

I derive great pleasure from imagining the suggested location and atmosphere for the unfolding poem. It’s like reading directions in a script or screenplay. I’ve used a similar device before in my poems (see “118A Creighton Avenue” and “St Paul’s, Covent Garden“), but it’s a comfort to know the greats did it, too. Today’s title unashamedly proposes the verse’s location.

(For interest, my poem “Postmarked from a Café” nods to Bukowski.)

Reference:
David Hinton (editor and translator), 2008, Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York).

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

The dark encroaches earlier and the temperatures drop. September heralds autumnal change. This time last year I was already battening down by spending more evenings in with the creaking heating, baking and feeling the quiet life.

Evening issues an amber skein. 
It trails a flock in departure.
In tumblers, it reflects as liquid.
From the road 
into one’s ear, whorls the skein.

When Friday dusk descends, 
often you will hear sirens.


“Lots of sirens. People have been drinking,” noted a friend of mine one balmy summer’s afternoon in sleepy North London. The observation stuck and I often recall it when I hear a siren’s wail on a Friday or Saturday evening, at the end of the month or during periods of celebration that will involve imbibing.

In other news, today – March 21st – was World Poetry Day. Should you wish to enjoy more of a poetry fix, have a look at some of my other posts. There are over 130 poems on the blog for you to enjoy.

Perhaps you prefer your poetry on paper? Selected poems have been published in book form. Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys presents 25 poems of solace for the world weary modern boy. The 20 poems of Shining in Brightness chronicle a formative decade of travel, loss and growing up.

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