Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Discarded Sock

Cui Jian is a Chinese rock star, and a really great singer. I would post the lyrics to one of his songs here, but I can't understand them at all. So instead here is a poem that mentions him.

The Discarded Sock

as the delicate dandelion shoves the rock aside seeking her father the sun
as Cui Jian chops soft Chinese words so short and crisp, like cabbage for eggrolls
as the butterfly’s fragile wings rip open the womb cocoon of strong parachute thread
as the soft light of dawn sneaks silent through the crack in the door, piercing my lids with its fire

so is our love, so delicately held out on quivering fingers, eyes not daring to meet eyes
so soft, uncertain, seen and unseen − faerie-like, seeming little more than the breath of a word
yet breathing life into dust, making soldiers weep like babies, making babies into men,
binding Sampsons, shaven, eyes gouged, lashing them to threshing machines

yet the dandelion that shoves the rock is soft and tart on the little lamb’s tongue
and Cui Jian’s words, both sweet and sour, are pleasant nonsense to my ear
and if the merest thorn touch the butterfly’s wing it will fly in circles ‘til it dies
and a discarded sock pulled over my eyes will foil all the morning’s maneuvers

so our love, so soft and strong, the mighty tremulous conquering cowering
death dealing, life giving, theme of all Shakespeare all poems all scripture
is brought to nothing by the merest turn of the head, the slightest of shrugs
brought down by the inattentive sigh on the other end of the line

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