Monday, September 14, 2015

An Illustrated History of Two Semicircles

                        "What is this, where am I? 
                            Where does earth end and heaven begin?”
                                              Yun Sondo (tr. L. Gross)

There is barely tenable
the pretty voice

tantalizing the vast jagged
monument of her inscriptions:

what you have to say is writ,

writ in water and stone,

writ for eyes of salt and tear,

writ for blocks syllabic in 3 dimensions,

algebraic and geometrical:

                         If angle of eye is all, IF...

    You have seen the long seas now,

seen while you were young.

You have seen the long airs,

seen them going wrong.

You age having been gifted.

Where is the long ground

at your feet, defending more

than past pain and present abstraction,

where is the future that glides

over more than alien hierarchy:

                   hurrying,  free from but not in...

From fluid English electric you

move to sudden destroying bolts,

slide singing from the north and understand

those who fight, eyeless, stock-still still,

immovable to all else and why:

                               no words will be so full...

Only then will you know.
how easy it has been:

I am glittering over the wind, Icarus--
Fear, alternate me,
rise me
with cold hands
twisting my chair
and tearing my chamber.
Hiding underneath
this mantle
leek-green longitude
protecting like a tortoise shell... 

E. A. Costa 14 September, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua
NB: The three short phrases beginning “If angle...”, “hurrying...”, and “no words...” are reworked citations of and allusions to Suli Kwock Kim's “Slant”. This poem is a tribute to Kim's elegant poetry in English, to that of Yon Se-Ondo (Yun Seundo) in Korean, and to a number of incisive, if far too neglected, English translators and publicizers of Korean traditional poetry, including Peter Lee, L. Gross, & others.

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