style of Ikkyū Sōjun
The heavens have promised rain for so many days.
I think of waiting for torrents from the white sky.
But it might be a long time. Or this could be a dream.
Taking your hand, I guide it below, to my cloud.
style of Ho Xuan Huong
Dear prince, if you emptied me
with as much pleasure and vigour
as you emptied that bowl of sweet buns
we would still be living in the sea of Love,
in Nirvana, or at least in the Kingdom of Ðằng.
Catch Me If You Can
Bound by no company oath, she promises the impossible.
White shirts with fibres that digest stains and wrinkles.
Grease that makes stroller wheels not squeak but soar.
Long leaves that, swept just once over the sidewalk,
ensure twigs will never fall there again.
Garden gnomes that repeat birdsongs like parrots.
Shadow selves you can leave sitting in the plaza
and collect on the way home from work.
Secondhand scarves that swathe you gently
in the experiences of the previous wearer.
She cackles and croons in contagious delight.
Her hat with fake diamonds, cane and blue socks
over sandals make some think that she’s mad.
But to the rest, there are things she’ll sell.
‘These jewels,’ she points hatward, ‘are teeth
from the last policeman who tried to take me away.’
In the south that I imagine
(for I have never been)
llamas roam free and wild
spitting when they feel like it
blueberries grow just outside the window
to be plucked with two fingers
lakes shine like mirrors
reflecting tall mountains
rainfalls are unpredictable
innocent changes in the divine mood
birds sing into great holy spaces
the wind whistles its reply
icy glaciers plunge towards sky
green valleys dive into earth
people follow God’s only commandments:
drink coffee, eat apple cake, live in beauty.
Jessica Sequeira is a writer living in Chile.