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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 93-96

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Three Poems

Luo Ying

The Snow is a Soft and Gentle Forest

We pass through the snow
Far away, the war is progressing
Death, blind in both eyes
Touches our feet
Darling, your hands are so cold
Secrets are growing in your eyes
Flowers given you by others are growing
But that's a mistake. Mistake. It wears a mask, blocking our way
It ties us up together with a slender cord
Carving a scar over our hearts as a sign
And it occurs to both of us that someone is dying at this very moment
The shadow of Death is spreading
We try wearing our lives inside out
At least they look newer that way
Final words, they're neither old nor new
And we wear them on our bodies too
And then we walk towards the tunnel
The sound of gunshots says the slaughter is still going on
The snow is weaving time
And the snow continues as well
We pass through the soft and gentle forest of snow
Death won't stain the snow black
It can't stain today or tomorrow black
In the narrow, narrow space inside my white, white heart
You lie, deep in sleep
You're smiling
You see me
When the sun, like a remark, brief and to the point
Makes its hesitant ascent [End Page 93]
Out of the cold, cold air
Out of Death's loose black robes
We pass through the snow
We move across the slope of the clock
We pass through the small river of time
We and the snow embrace, we and Death embrace
We and the past, and the past before the past
Sounds fade away into silence like cannon fodder
We and so many story lines, so many loves
We brush past them and continue on our way


Ants, their clans
Lined up in rows, character after character, into a sequence of poems
The sounds of love linger, echoing back
They murmur among themselves, droning and humming underground
Surging throngs
Tonight in my dreams
Compose songs
And write poems

Daylily's Journey


voice calling out to voice
the hours never come home
mother rides the boat alone
in the river of glittering stars
she has washed and dried
homecoming story lines time and again
the boat drifts along
drifts into the line
of the figure made by wild geese flying homeward


mother's embroidered shoes
slightly damp [End Page 94]
the tears she cried when she was young
she stubbornly turns to face the wall
reading the past and the past that came before the past
without a word
catching a ride on a wutong leaf
under the hollow of a bow-shaped bridge
we meet up
with an autumn long since vanished
and me, before I was born


a dark corner of a wall
crickets say that the sun is too far and the cold is too near
following the cracks between the brickwork
the spirit world
is too distant and too close
from here
mother takes her footsteps, swift and light like dried leaves
and puts them away in a chest of drawers
takes the moth-eaten but perfectly round moonlight
and gently moves it to a space beside her pillow
neither speaking nor awake, nor alive
is the well in front of the door
a stone inside the well


how can one refuse
a gentle breeze
how can one refuse
a sparrow's approaching flight
mother always flies
without direction, without a way back
she's always flying
scattering bits of feather-shaped
love, non-love, nostalgia, non-nostalgia
mother, she is light and airy, soft and gentle
in the mist where moonlight and candlelight enhance each other
lightly and almost soundlessly
carrying these burnt words
and the story the words can only tell confusedly
reluctantly [End Page 95]
she flies, and keeps


umbrellas, surrounded by umbrellas
funeral umbrellas are a sad grove of trees
black umbrella black umbrella black umbrella
tears flow down the hillsides of sloping umbrellas


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pp. 93-96
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