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Blackcap, by Arthur Sze

 

V  E  R  G  E:
she sets type by hand and loves how the spaces

between letters and between words
are of the same type-metal the letters themselves are cast from:

o p e n   w a t e r :
standing along the Malecón, I gaze at the curving horizon of water and sky,
at whitecaps crashing below;

now, walking barefoot on an oak floor,

I expect to see, through the glass panes,
a stag enter the moonlit orchard

where autumn hangs in the branches, like smoked bourbon,
but no, not yet:

to arrive at a place where each letter of each word
rises out of metallic silence,

and in the yearning for this language to blackcap,
I ride a hush, a wave

where the silence will be broken,
when dogs bark at whatever crosses the fence line.

 

Poet, translator, and editor Arthur Sze is the author of ten books of poetry: Sight Lines; Compass Rose; The Ginkgo Light; Quipu; The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998; Archipelago; River River; Dazzled; Two Ravens; and The Willow Wind. He is also a celebrated translator from the Chinese, and released The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives.

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