A Few Poems

Grief’s Triolet

—for Brenda

Night. Only darkness left to me:
the sky all drained of twilight red.
I hold its ghost in memory.
Night. Only darkness left to me
and shades of lifetimes lost. Maybe
there is no waiting dawn, just dead
night, only darkness left to me,
the sky all drained of twilight red.


One day I fled home
and its roaring rage.
I ran until stumbling
and crying out. Arms outstretched
became feathered wings
carrying me aloft.

Circling the same ground,
my speckled wings remain outstretched.
Tree limbs curve around
this pinion-carved rut in the sky,
this unvarying path over fields,
farm lot and woods.

Father walks among the outbuildings
and does not know his son
circling overhead.
The gods gave a song to me
he cannot understand.



Millenia of cities
lie here beside the Yellow River.
At base is Banpo:
sixty neolithic thatch-roofed huts,
now unearthed as post holes
and open hearths ringed with stones,
the floors dug three feet below
ground level of that day.

We have found their stone axes,
knives and hoes; their bone needles;
their pottery adorned with animals,
geometric patterns and human forms.
The clan, matriarchal,
met in a large, central hall.
They farmed the loose silt.
They stored food deep in caves,
away from scavenging animals and insects.

These people buried adults in a cemetery.
They kept children who had died
near to them, within clay urns
buried beside the family home:
All speak of human hearts.

Five thousand years later,
a short distance to the east,
one man arrayed
endless rows of terra-cotta soldiers
around his solitary grave.


9 thoughts on “A Few Poems

  1. I love “Greif’s Triolet”. First, it taught me a new form of poetry (I was a science major not an English major so I’m always learning something) but mostly because…it’s just something I’d like.

    It’s sad and beautiful at the same time.

    But I do love them all. You are very talented.

  2. I especially liked “Xi’an.” I have been there and seen the soldiers, though it was 1994 and much more has been unearthed since then. I remember the vast hall of soldiers, the awe of it, and the mysterious burial mounds (like mountains, really) outside the city. But I also remember the Snickers bar I purchased on the plaza and relished. Not ate, relished.

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