Saturday, February 13, 2021



JOHN HAINES (1958-1960) ~


Two Poems After Li Po

I — Conversation

If you ask me why

I live here on

this lonely hillside

I will smile and say:

The autumn leaves

drift on the moving

water, and

the world of men

is far away.

II — Quiet Night

Moonlight spills

across the bed,

outside the frost

is deepening.

I lie awake and

watch the changing

shadows, thinking

of the lonely earth.

A Letter

                  after Li Chang-yin

I will not ask you

what we know too well,

the heart has

its own intelligence.

I lower the flame in the lamp

by the snowbound window

and let the moonlight in.

Two thousand miles away

you have said goodbye,

and there is no returning.

After Chu Yuan

With you

I will go down

to the river

and bathe in a quiet pool.

I will dry your hair

in the sun

singing a little,

facing the quiet wind.

With you

I will climb the slope

of evening,

warmed and content,

thinking of home.


John Haines

Of Your Passage, O Summer

Limberlost Press, 2004