August 1, 2016

Three Poems by Timothy O'Grady: "From Walks Along the Eno River," and two translations from the Korean, "Vase," and "Here and Now"

After thirty-five years, Tim has finally retired as a college English instructor, most recently with the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He has written a fair amount of poetry and fiction in his life but has seldom ventured to get it published. Maybe that will change, now that he has even more time to scribble.



Aztalan-Courtesy of Tim O'Grady




From Walks Along the Eno River

Rocks collared in ice,
This river bathes a thousand
Glaciated isles.

               One steps cautiously
               Past the clot of detritus
               Where blue herons dream.

Deaf from trudging through the leaves –
Halt! Hollies glitter
In the low noon sun.
 
                Deep in river wood
               Are these pearl sherds underfoot?
               Oysters from the flood

High above Pea Creek
It’s as though the hills, bloodless,
Hemorrhaged crystal bile.

               The swifter the flow,
               The sooner it sheds its skin,
               Flaying from within.

Here on turtle’s back
I see where I stood last year
Facing me downstream.

               Upended giant,
               Parts scattered everywhere,
               Hole already filled.

Enthusiasm:
What is lost repeatedly
In reaching trail’s end

               The mind and its schemes

               Drown out the chickadees’ cheeps
               No more words today



Two Translations from the Korean


Vase (by Gho Du-dong)

White porcelain holds a day,
Untroubled silence of static pools,
And calls upon the sun-and-moon –
First to turn, then to stay.

My mind, fissured by a flood of years
And runneled by our gloomy age's storms,
Holds quiet as the clay –
Spirit soaring through the tears.



Here and Now (by Yoo Sang-duk)

There are nights on this solitary mountain
When the the stars, summoned by regret, tower like a forest,
Its glimmering boughs the roost of a white-tailed bird.

Like leaves severed from life by a fatal breeze,
Sounds of pecking descend the dark -- echo and drum
In a mind empty of all but futility.

The wind's rustling tentacles coil cold and tight
About a lone sapling and wrench it into sweaty submission.
In its thin skin is a wound that widens daily.

~Timothy O'Grady

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