vrijdag, maart 28, 2003


Due to the fervor of war, the lure of quiet mountains, and the onset of the baseball season, Desultory Turgescence will be unavailable until March 31st. In its absence, feel free to peruse the archives or read the following two pieces over and over again until I get back:

Reading the News and Thinking of the T'ang Poets

When Li Po tried to climb T'ai-hang,
he found its passes choked with snow.
Thwarted, he turned back to lowlands,
to streams sliding through bare willows
where he sat and fished and wrote a poem.
When young, he was a hsia avenger,
righting wrongs with a spoon-headed sword.
Old, he settled things by sitting still.


Before the rebels took Ch'ang-an,
Tu Fu escaped the fabled city
where Christian, Jew, and Manichaean
held court with Buddhists. The Emperor,
who wrote lyrics and composed, had fled.
Months later, crossing moonlit fields
stippled bright with human bones,
Tu Fu wrote that poetry is useless,
in a poem alive these thousand years.


Today our news is much the same.
Near Srebrenica, skulls dot fields
like cabbages, while in Rwanda,
the short tribe hacked up the tall.
"Blood is smeared on bush and grass,"
yet poetry persists through slaughter,
as if the systoles in our raging hearts
held rhythms that could heal, if heard.

by John Balaban, Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New & Selected Poems
Copper Canyon Press


Wreck on the Highway
Bruce Springsteen

Last night I was out driving
Coming home at the end of the working day
I was riding alone through the drizzling rain
On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane
When I came upon a wreck on the highway

There was blood and glass all over
And there was nobody there but me
As the rain tumbled down hard and cold
I seen a young man lying by the side of the road
He cried "Mister, won't you help me please…"

An ambulance finally came and took him to Riverside
I watched as they drove him away
And I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife
And a state trooper knocking in the middle of the night
To say "Your baby died in a wreck on the highway."

Sometimes I sit up in the darkness
And I watch my baby as she sleeps
Then I climb in bed and I hold her tight
I just lay there awake in the middle of the night
Thinking 'bout the wreck on the highway

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