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The years pass –

a wall that grows higher

and darker…

the end, farther…


Days and nights are a bamboo ladder.


My life tragedies – rungs of the ladder

sloping, slippery –

getting past each tragedy

I get to the next step,

one breath closer to the crest.


Some evenings I see the sky bend (or crouch)…

as he smokes his long misty pipe,

his fingers work the charcoal of light

now, etching a new day…

now, smudging a charcoal night .


Then, he pulls down the cot of the east,

irons out the creases in the clouds,

shakes out a cool blue sheet,

and settles down to wait for the warm-faced dawn.


Today, a hand fell astray (maybe it was mine)…

Today, a foot slipped (it might have been mine)…


But, words are empty,

and talk is cheap…


Today, the cot of the east lies bare …

No golden dawn grew from the clouds…

the crazed sky, he scratches and seeks

in every earthly furrow and slough.


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