Passionate Tanka

April 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

Passionate Tanka poetry written by my english language students:

Don’t just sleep all day

When sunshine falls in the room

Please open your mind

And change my heart, fall in love

I need you, and I want you

Beautiful flowers

Spring is coming to me

love is coming too

but I can’t looking for

Where is my mind? In the space.

I can’t see all of things

it’s coming soon, spring to me

what happened? Something.

spring will give me a nice guy

I am waiting for the man

Love is beautiful

Everybody need one love

Also, I have love

He is handsome and funny

I remember lovely moments

The end of winter

I feel soft breeze and sunshine

would you like to go out?

maybe just needs a few times

we could share love each other


The Leaf and the Cloud (Excerpt) – Mary Oliver

April 4, 2013 § 3 Comments

Every morning I wake, dress in the dark, go downstairs.

I look out of every window.
I go out and stand on the lawn.
In the west, the slightest light begins
flinging itself upward
and my heart beats (never an exception) with excitement.
(My gratitude to you, dear heart!)
Though it will all vanish utterly, and surely in
a little while,
I know what is wonderful–
I know what to hoard in my heart more than the value
of pearls and seeds.
There was the day you first spoke my name.
There was a white house at the edge of the harbour.
There was the swan, and the hummingbird.
There was music, and paper, and the tirelessly pursued work.
There were a thousand and again a thousand unforgettable days.
And still I’m looking at everything —
in the wide morning and the strike of noon
I’m humming, and clapping my hands
and I can’t stop
not for any reason
not even for the easiest thought.
And, anyway, what is thought
but elaborating, and organizing?
What is thought
but doubting, and crying out?
(In the dark, in the distance,
I can just see the heron
dimpling then calming her long wings.)
As reliable as anything you will ever know,
time moves its dim, heavy thumb over the shoreline
making its changes, its whimsical variations.
Yes, yes, the body never gets away from the world,
its endless granular shuffle and exchange–
everything is one, sooner or later —
the red fox and the bullrush,
the industrious ant and the sleepy bear,
the green crab and the minnow,
the pink boat and the dog in the pink boat
Shelley’s body and the gleaming sand.
When the praying mantis opens its wings
it becomes a green flower.
When the egg breaks
it becomes a bird.
When the river is finished, its avenues of light
fold and drop and fall into
and become the sea.
-Mary Oliver

Ch’in on a moonlit night

March 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

The night’s lazy, the moon bright. Sitting

here, a recluse plays his pale white ch’in,

And suddenly, as if cold pines were singing,

it’s all those harmonies of grieving wind.

Intricate fingers flurries of white snow,

empty thoughts emerald-water clarities:


No one understands now. Those who could

hear a song this deeply vanished long ago.


-Li Po

To Send Far Away

March 3, 2013 § 2 Comments


A woman alone here east of Ch’ung-ling

while you stay among Han River islands,

I look out across bright blossoms all day:

a lit path of white stretching between us.

We made clouds-and-rain love our farewell,

then nothing but autumn grasses remained,

autumn grasses and autumn moths rising,

and thoughts of you all twilight sorrow.

Will I ever see you again, ever darken

this lamp as you loosen my gauze robes?


Short and tall, spring grasses lavish

our gate with green, as if passion-driven,

everything returned from death to life.

My burr-weed heart — it alone is bitter.

You’ll know that in these things I see

you here again, planting our gardens

behind the house, and us lazily gathering

what we’ve grown. It’s no small thing.

-Li Po  (A.D. 712-760)

Sunrise by Mary Oliver

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

You can
die for it —
an idea,
or the world. People
have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But
this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought
of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

September 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I sat drinking and did not notice the dusk,

Till falling petals filled the folds of my dress.

Drunken I rose and walked to the moonlit stream;


Li Po (701-762)

Desert Poems

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Desert

We drove all day, snaking our way from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate, down from the mountains and into the valleys, past the lush blooming almond oases, far out, driving as if to the end of the world.

Like a prehistoric landscape or a moonscape, we drove to where winds had flattened the earth, carried away all dust and debris, leaving but a dry mud cracked by the relentless sun, on which we drove

To the desert

On the crusty passageway, we came to a screeching halt at a place where the earth had opened up, a great cavernous ravine cut through the road, into which our car might have tumbled, and never found again

Taking a detour, we drove on

Until, ever so slowly, the sand began

We drove in the direction of the dunes

Until we reached Merzouga

A tiny village built by hand of terracotta clay

Barely discernable from the sea of sand

Where we stood at its shores

A Berber family invited us into their tent for a pot of strong gunpowder tea

Twarag dressed in elegant blue shawls, their inky black eyes haunted the landscape

Solitary, mysterious

That evening we hiked a mountain of sand for hours until we reached the summit, looked out over the dunes to Algeria.

Boarderless, seamless, endless.

Utterly open, unencumbered.

When night fell I lay down in the sand

Under the stars I felt small

Felt sheltered

Excited then terrified

“I could disappear here.”

Felt held



There are things I know I should not have thrown away

My weathered Moroccan guidebook

Was the instrument on which I had played many tunes

My old companion

What compelled me to leave it on the sidewalk when it didn’t sell at the garage sale?

Now a pang of regret lingers, sharp in my chest

Why was I was so sure there would not be enough room

To hold onto all that is beloved?


Autumn River Song

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

The moon shimmers in green water.

White herons fly through the moonlight.


The young man hears a girl gathering water-chestnuts:

into the night, singing, they paddle home together.


Li Po (701-762)

Quiet Night Moon

September 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Before my bed
There is bright-lit moonlight
So that it seems
Like frost on the ground:

Lifting my head
I watch the bright moon
Lowering my head
I dream that I’m home.

Jing Ye Si (Quiet Night Thoughts) by Li Bai (Li Po)


September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment


A cougar was spotted on the island this summer

Sunning himself on Malaview Drive

When I came home from work at night

I held my flashlight tight and turned in the darkness

Looking for that pair of yellow eyes

That might be lurking

inside the tall grass

It’s early fall now

Tonight we lit the woodstove

The air was smoky and deep

In the darkness

I stumbled over the apples that had fallen into the grass

I thought

I’m not afraid of the darkness anymore

And last night I forgot to lock my door

Oh darkness

How will I feel about you in the winter?

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