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Being Human

John B. Lee


I am reading Rumi
reading Tu Fu and thinking of being human
last summer Marty and I slept in the farmhouse loft
under French heaven near Vitteaux
and we lay in our separate cots
like boys at camp
laughing, talking silly
making fun of everyone
we were mostly ourselves, middle aged men
with the window open
to starlight
and the evening breath of the fields

look up at the slant of ceiling
the slant of beams
this room was built
for dreaming
and we were giddy as lads
with happy lives, not
old Tu Fu, his sadness settled
like shadows, like rivers
like cold stones of winter
and the bitter darkness of long nights
and the lonesome insomnia
of small hours
like the mystical beauty of death and dying
and the inescapable anger of the soul

our hearts
refusing the silence
with a lovely slowing exhalation
as we each become more pensive in
the loosening limbs of slumber
relaxing our hands like unfurled leaves
and pressing our faces to linen

meanwhile great rivers of the earth
the Tigres and Euphrates
the Yangtse
the Amazon of my father's last days
flow on
and what would I buy
from the famous floating markets of Bangkok

I would purchase the rains of remember
I would purchase the stars of recall
and what to preserve in a poem
but the drenching of darkness with light.



John B. Lee's works copyright © to the author.


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