Poetry and song and maybe culture

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Black Camellia

by Henri Cole

after Petrarch

Little room, with four and a half tatami mats
and sliding paper doors, that used to be
a white, translucent place to live in refined poverty,

what are you now but scalding water in a bath?

Little mattress, that used to fold around me
at sunrise as unfinished dreams were fading,

what are you now but a blood-red palanquin
of plucked feathers and silk airing in the sun?

Weeding the garden, paring a turnip, drinking tea
for want of wine, I flee from my secret love
and from my mind's worm—This is a poem.
Is this a table? No, this is a poem. Am I a girl?—
seeking out the meat-hook crowd I once loathed,
so afraid am I of finding myself alone.

Link Audio!