July/Aug 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 4 PoetryJuly 1, 2020 |

Pyrocumulus

Peony shoots rise out of the earth; at 5 a.m., walking up the ridge, I mark how, in April, Orion’s left arm was an apex in the sky, and, by May, only Venus flickered above the ridge against the blue edge of sunrise. In daylight, a pear tree explodes with white blossoms — no black- footed ferret slips across my path, no boreal owl stirs on a branch. At 3 a.m., dogs seethed and howled when a black bear snagged a shriveled apple off a branch; and, waking out of a black pool, I glimpsed how fire creates its own weather in rising pyrocumulus. Reaching the ditch, I drop the gate: it’s time for the downhill pipes to fill, time for bamboo at the house to suck up water, time to see sunlight flare between leaves before the scorching edge of afternoon.

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Arthur Sze’s latest book is The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). He is the recipient of a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation and also of the 2021 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His expanded edition of translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon II, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in the spring of 2024.

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By Arthur Sze

Peony shoots rise out of the earth; at 5 a.m., walking up the ridge, I mark how, in April, Orion’s left arm was an apex in the sky, and, by […]

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