I have been toting these poems around for years. I recently found them and typed them up so I could put them on the wall in the clinic. I hope you enjoy them.
Down the Canyon to El Toro Road—
hawks coasting overhead—
past Leisure World and its myriad of gates,
you come to a network of malls
where magic and the ordinary coexist.
Where next to the Nail Nook you’ll find
Dr. Sam Liang’s Golden Needle.
There are maps of the body on the wall,
meridians marked in red alphabet, a
slew of points on the ear, so many
that I press my own against the paper whorl,
begin to hear the whoosh inside the shell.
Acupuncture is the quietest of medicines
like the way gardening used to be
when it was forgivable to have a
throw of leaves on the walk.
My chart, a scatter of ideaopgaphs—birdish
notations that record the appearance
of my palms, the moisture on my tongue.
And yet in this quiet, pinned to my own body,
I begin to feel how I, too, have spent my life,
having now come to the bottom of the cup, ready
to read the splash of leaves, this feeling of plentitude
before the lights come on.
Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Song Dynasty I Pause to Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles
by Billy Collins
It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.
Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.
“Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon” is one of Sun Tung Po’s.
“Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea”
is another one, or just
“On a Boat, Awake at Night.”
And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
“in a Boat on a Summer Evening
I heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman is Cruel—Moved, I Wrote This Poem.”
There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like “Vortex on a String,”
“The Horn of Neurosis,” or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.
Instead, “I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall”
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.
And “Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors”
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat witha jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.
How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like him, and listen.