green green grass

for caedmon whom–for once in my life—i thought i had met
December 23, 2007, 5:03 am
Filed under: it's just me. you dont have to care.

(It might be




a painted wall


on its own,

it gets


of dusts and

cobwebs of



words that



in its gut.

As when

a tiled floor is

mopped—it takes


the stamped




two pairs of soles.



Tell me—

if this skin,


this flesh,

is scrubbed

off like the paint

on the wall

—will looking

at you


any difference

as one should feel


without footprints?).


December 17, 2007, 1:37 pm
Filed under: cw posts

a rainbow of dirty clothes about

the fed-up pink basket

the dusts on top of the shiny black

leather-dressing box

jane eyre and the queen of the damned,

on the floor, flat and shut

a fancy pearl-earring sealed inside

the clear zip-lock cellophane

the dangling blanket on the bed-side, and the

loosing pillow-cases off the pillows

the desk’s shadow on the stuffed

travel-bag (the unzipped small pocket on its side)

an evan and jaron-song in altering high

and low volumes from an old cassette-tape player

like a drunkard in karaoke who can hardly

read the lyrics and shout with pride

the all-too familiar chorus

of a three-peso song.

*subject to changes during the cold, cold holiday season

seventeen syllables (version2)
December 11, 2007, 1:33 pm
Filed under: cw posts


















poetry exercise 2
December 11, 2007, 1:06 pm
Filed under: cw posts

Persian Poetry
Jalal al-Din Rumi, 1207-1273 A.D.

From the Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz

This is love — to fly toward the heavens,
To tear every instant a hundred veils;
At the first moment, to renounce life,
At the last, to journey without feet;
To regard this world as invisible,
Not to see what your eyes behold.
“O heart,” I said, “may you be blessed
To have entered the circle of lovers,
To look beyond the pale of eyesight
And roam over the bosom’s winding ways.
O soul, whence is this breath upon you?
O heart, whence this urgent throbbing?
Speak now, O bird, the speech of birds.
I can grasp your secret meaning!”
The soul replied: “I was in God’s workshop
While He baked the house of clay and water.
I flew away from God’s workshop
At the time that it was being created,
But when I could resist no more,
They dragged me there to shape me
like a ball.


There are two characters in the poem: the speaker himself/herself and his/her soul. These two characters, although they are as one physically, builds up the tension in the poem with the duality of the voice. At first, the speaker expresses in the first line, “This is love—“, and asserts love’s beginning and end. But then again, in the succeeding lines, I get the sense that the speaker is quite unsure of what it is he/she is feeling. It is still unclear to me but it seems that the soul’s reply to the speaker’s queries about the existence of that particular feeling, whatever it is, is divine.


I thought I would never notice. I knew from the first time I read the poem that there is more to it than I could understand from reading it on the first session. Now, I see that in the lines, “O soul, whence is this breath upon you? O heart, whence this urgent throbbing?”, actually demands answer about life. How did life cast breath to the soul. And how life came about to the heart. The idea of love in the preceeding lines is mentioned because it is love that starts (“to renounce life”) and ends (“to journey without feet”) life. In these lines, the the speaker recognizes the physical world. The soul is in one with the heart in order to renounce life.  As he/she says further, the end of life is not having to walk on bare feet, not being able to touch the ground.


Is the speaker having biases with the soul or the heart (as the representative of his physical body)? When he/she states his lines in the poem, for whom is he/she speaking for? Or maybe the speaker is neither the soul nor the heart. He/she is the entity between the two. He/she is the scientist in every human mind. He/she is always hungry for answers of existence. When has life really started? Did it start with the body? Or the soul? The soul’s reply is that it is there in the “God’s workshop” when the body was made. So the soul is already there, before the body was made. But  what should we call the persona between the two parts of the “self”, the one that asks these kind of questions on life and existence?


In my reading this time, the reply of the soul made an impression to me. I get the idea that the soul does not agree that it will be united with the body. The line, “I flew away from God’s workshop”, expresses the soul’s disobedience to God. But when the soul “could resist no more”, “they dragged” him/her to shape “like a ball”. It seems that the soul’s unison with the body made of “clay and water” means giving up something which might mean the freedom of the soul. It could also be that this unity would imply mortality. By the time the body dies, the soul also dies.


Having pointed out that there are two characters: the soul and the heart, the speaker in himself/herself could be counted as a different character. He/she is in charged of the two entities within himself. He/she contains the two in a way that he/she is neither the soul nor the body. He/she thinks, inquires and feels. He/she recognizes the very feeling, which is love, that may have been the reason of his/her life. He/she is able to describe love—“ To regard this world as invisible, Not to see what your eyes behold”.

seventeen syllables
December 7, 2007, 8:04 am
Filed under: cw posts

i lay

on the ripples and waves of the sheet

we made with our eyes closed.

poetry exercise 1
December 4, 2007, 2:43 pm
Filed under: cw posts

Egypt- ca. 1800 B.C

Death is before my eyes today
Like a man recovering from illness,
Like a convalescent walking afield.

Death is before my eyes today
Like the scent of the myrrh
Like sitting under a boat’s sail on a windy day.

Death is before my eyes today
Like the smell of lotus flower
Like sitting on the bank of drunkenness.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a foot-worn path,
As when a soldier returns home from a campaign.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a clearing of the heavens,
As when a man is enthralled by the unknown.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a man is yearning for his home
When he has passed a long time in captivity.


The line “Death is before my eyes today” is the first line of every stanza. The repetition of the line is a manifestation of convincing his self (the speaker of the poem) who may be an old man because his words contain wisdom in them that only those who are experienced can ponder on. I get the sense that the persona is tired. The idea “Death is before my eyes” gives me the look of tired eyes and that his remaining strength he spends in ranting about existing—just because his strength is not enough to kill himself. However, it could also be that he is still not sure if he wants to embrace death.


I have an impression that this poem is easy to read since it is so usual. Or is it? It describes death in similes like a list poem. Although I can tell that not all similes in the poem have the same intensity as the other. The one with much impact to me is, “Like sitting under a boat’s sail on a windy day”. But rereading the line, I have second thoughts. Or is it my personal sentiments getting into me because I have a fear in sailing, be it a fair or windy day? Sailing is worse but sailing in a windy day is worst. It is death. But as what I wrote, I have second thoughts about the line. Without my sentiment, it is plain. It does not describe death. A windy day must transform into a storm before it can be as intense as death.


I noticed that each stanza’s second and third lines are always in pair with each other. They are in pair in a way that they share the same idea. For example, the first stanza works hand in hand to convey an idea of death as a healing or an emancipation from illness. This means that the persona’s view of life is suffering. And death is finally the end of it. The first stanza seems to be the ruling idea of the whole poem. Death is finally resting from “a boat’s sail”, from “drunkenness”, from a “campaign”, from “being enthralled”… and finally in the last stanza, it encloses the poem as death being a home.

It seems to me that the poem has so much life in it. While the word, “death” is present in every stanza, the lines that are supposed to work to describe death are alive. If the lines are looked into individually, they all represent experiences of life. They all represent an image perceivable by the senses.


The fourth stanza, when death is  “Like a foot-worn path, As when a soldier returns home from a campaign”, views life as a war or a campaign. Death is where the path of life as a war leads.


The images of the poem express the long wait of the persona for the moment of his/her rest. Death, as he repeats is “today”. By repeating the line, “Death is before my eyes today”, strengthens the power of the “now”. It is the strong impulse of the moment that the persona sees before his/her eyes what he/she has been waiting for.


Maybe it has something to do with the familiarity of the lines that I now perceive death differently. It is clear to me that death is not the opposite of life (as shown in the lines which are alive), but a part of it. It is a natural thing. And while many people are afraid to die, the persona of the poem asserts with much conviction that death is already before his eyes. The speaker describes it in a rather light and comforting way to end.