Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Poetry in Motion, Day 24 (Li-Young Lee)

Jolee has her poster signed here, this one is Shayna's. It is inscribed beautifully by the poet Li-Young Lee, "Heart-flower to heart-flower". It's also a wonderful poem.

I Ask My Mother to Sing

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
His accordion and swing like a boat.

I've never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung:
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more.

Both women have begun to cry,
But neither stops her song.

Li-Young Lee (b. 1957)
Only one today, but I intend to do a three-for-Thursday on the 26th.

Previous BillyBlog Poetry in Motion posts:

from "My Grandmother's New York Apartment" by Elizabeth Alexander (Day 1)
from "A Bouquet" by Bei Dao (Day 2)
"Separation" by W.S. Merwin (Day 3)
"The Groundfall Pear" by Jane Hirshfield (Day 4)
"For Friendship" by Robert Creeley (Day 5)
from "Crazy Horse Speaks" by Sherman Alexie (Day 6)
"Hunger" by Billy Collins (Day 7)
from "Little Man Around the House" by Yusef Komunyakaa (Day 8)
"The Loon on Oak-Head Pond" by Mary Oliver (Day 9)
from "I Am Vertical" by Sylvia Plath (Day 10 - part 1)
"Two Haiku" by
Kobayashi Issa (Robert Hass, trans.) (Day 10 - part 2)
"you say 'i will come' " by Lady Otomo No Sakanoe (Kenneth Rexroth, trans.) (Day 11)
"You Called Me Corazón" by Sandra Cisneros (Day 12)
"Too Much Heat, Too Much Work" by Tu Fu (Carolyn Kizer, trans.) (Day 13)
"Sew" by Donald Hall (Day 14)
"Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden (Day 15)
"Luck" by Langston Hughes (Day 16)
"0˚" by Elizabeth Spires (Day 17 - part 1)
"I Finally Managed to Speak with Her" by Hal Sirowitz (Day 17 - part 2)
"Window" by Carl Sandburg (Day 18)
" 'Hope' is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson (Day 19)
from "Watch Repair" by Charles Simic (Day 20)
"Thank You, My Dear" by Sappho (Mary Barnard, trans.) (Day 21)
"A Piece of the Storm" and "Keeping Things Whole" by Mark Strand (Day 22)
"Lullaby for a Daughter" by Mary Jo Salter (Day 23)

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