Poetry

‘Late Autumn Afternoon’ and other poems

By: George Freek

LATE AUTUMN AFTERNOON (After Tu Fu)

Those distant clouds
will soon be overhead,
bringing rain or snow.
The flowers will be dead.
Squirrels play mindless games.
It’s what suits their brains.
Flowers and squirrels
are soon past their prime.
But as I drink my wine,
I watch the squirrels
gather food for winter.
Do they know life is short?
I don’t believe they
stare at the distant stars
and think of eternity,
but as nature
grows harsher, they
scamper frantically,
and I envy them their pursuit.
As they gather their nuts,
they can’t stop
to worry or to repine.
The pointless worrying is mine.

###

TO A FRIEND (After Chu Hsi)

A breeze rustles the leaves
at the edge of the bay.
The moon and the stars make
night almost as clear as day.
On the lake a loon calls,
from very far away.
The lake is a calm desert.
But tonight a strong wind
will blow. Waves will beat
like furious fists against
the rocks. I feel this anger
is more real than the calm.
It’s nature’s realm.
My friend says we must
look for the good.
I find it hard to believe.
Forgive me, my friend.
I watch a worm,
stranded in the grass,
struggling in agony,
until it finally reaches
its predetermined end.
I leave it alone,
and walk carefully home.

###

I PONDER BY THE BLUE RIVER (After Mei Yao Chen)

A goose floats on the river,
so near I can almost touch him.
In an ugly mood, he honks at me.
It’s what he has to say.
On this wind-blown day,
leaves fall, denuding the trees.
I can’t see that wind,
but I feel its chilling breeze.
We only know what
we can see. But who sees
the atoms in a cup of tea?
Life is a brief fantasy.
Fat clouds drift insouciantly,
then disappear. The river
wanders ambiguously,
until it’s finally swallowed
by a distant, impassive sea.
I gaze into it with querulous eyes,
And see confusion,
but that is only me.
and I’m just a momentary illusion.


Categories: Poetry

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