Spring 1984 • Vol. VI No. 2 A Gathering of Poems |

Walking Back to China

The Emperor from his death-bed has sent a message to you alone … But you sit at your window when evening falls and dream it to yourself. FRANZ KAFKA I What can we desire but what dies? We abandon the fields to stones and leave the birds always rising from the needlework you put down. The leaves are gathering outside—we set out and never arrive and now you remember no one is waiting there to welcome us. II As the barques jostle together and mist drifts in from the river you sit by the window and dream the world in silence to yourself. Outside snow drifts against the pines and moonlight falls from the branches. Will you forget that moment spring flocked down on the needlework? III When you dream you must say nothing. How can we love and know nothing of death, the migration of birds, the distance between us? The lamp shines on nothing and the day fades as you work it among the threads. The birds hover above the fields; tell me if they leave, or return. I

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By Charles Simic

The Emperor from his death-bed has sent a message to you alone … But you sit at your window when evening falls and dream it to yourself. FRANZ KAFKA I […]

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