Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wen Chang

I wake monastic
to a morning of spare light,
and an itch to be
tetchy lingering from last
night's candle-lit creeps.

A quick rummage through closets
where I keep hidden
pantechnicons of surplus
garments discarded
by near houses of worship,

finds a never-worn
surplice cut to my liking,
and I slip it on
starched and musty white
atop wrinkled blue

jeans. In the hall, I perk up
primula bouquets
laid at feet of ivory
and I ignite
a joss stick, letting its curls

of fragrance implore
the deity to bring down
his leather-bound book
and nobble my stubborn mind
until its ructions

subside. But Wen Chang keeps words
clutched dear to his breast,
and I'll need another means
of making myself
a muggins with romper thoughts

new freed, ever penned
to bounce about. So I head
to the scullery
and peal yellow and red blotched
skins from twelve pippins

to bake in two tarts, bubbling
up brown: One I'll eat,
the second use finally
to coax a musing
from my still stiff friend, Wen Chang.

Francis Scudellari


Francis Scudellari said...

I've got a little bit of background to this piece on my blog, if you're interested. Wen Chang is the Chinese "God of Literature."

gerry boyd said...

Great, great, great piece of work Francis. The even tone, the measured cadence, the calm narrative, the Zen of the ending. I suspect you succeeded in doing what you intended to do here. Masterful, indeed.

Megan Duffy said...

Wow, Francis. This is a stunning achievement. The words fit seamlessly, and the idea and overall image of this poem reads to me like a rippled length of silk.

"candle-lit creeps"

ah, wonderful!

Akeith Walters said...

Brilliant. The only word to describe this. Well put together. Great read.

Harlequin said...

this was simply marvelous.... from the lovely images to the word and line breaks that worked so effectively

I especially liked the image of smoke swirling to the gods.... and the line that begins with " jeans" ... parts and whole in lively harmony;
so enjoyable to read and re-read....thank you!

Jenny said...

Yes, this is extremely well-written; I agree with the others. A mysterious undertone. Beautiful!

"and peal yellow and red blotched
skins from twelve pippins"

Two of my favorite lines; but I could go on picking out several other favorites!

Thank you so much for your fine contributions to this blog, Francis!

Ande said...

Wonderful lines with exact balance. I second the other commentors above.