Light Girl

Light Girl


(an aubade
on the occasion of her birthday)

Light girl, listen -
by that noon you were missing
the gloom in heaven at your leaving
(mourning after morning,
or after parting, should we say -
you, then, being almost post partum).
Hid, though, from your recalling
is you’d been born in dawning
but for this:
A quiet voice
(I think it was God’s, though angels circled)
saying, don’t go, sing for us again -
linger just an hour.

Heaven hushed, then,
(Is heaven ever silent? More likely, laughing children –
but I think even they paused play)
except that one still voice saying,
sing your longing just once more -
yes, those wishings: caring, soothing, justice, light;
but sing your other yearnings, too
your sea-sky dreams, church bells, deep golds, crimson,
fogshroud streets, silk lace, rainstorms, kissing.
Your alms of healing are songs to God?
Your joys and passion are just as much,
And just as dear.

Light girl, listen -
I know your brown eyes closed then
all hope held there, grace within
your full lips curved round gentlest notes
and sang, in quiet, as I have heard,
until the last pure, heartfelt tones afloat -
faded,
then borne away you were,
into your song itself,
birthing,
your life and all your yearnings,
ceaseless, daily hymns to God.

Flowers on a path

IMG_0274
Morning on summer’s first day
on this overgrown path
leading ever upward,

someone,
annoyed
at the bright yellow
dew laden blossoms
bent cross the path

has broken
twisted and
shredded
the branches

as if they could not bear
the bursting-light flowers,

the touch of the world.

Winnowing

A white-dusted woman looks up from sifting circles of
Yellow grain, and husks, and leaves.

In the clicking speech of her people she calls, Ah hello.
Dear God! Your two faces shine before me.

The tallest wipes the sweat from his eyes and says, We are
Elders, come to talk of you, of your belief,
And our own. You see, we are much alike—

Winnowing, wielding a sieve.

The old woman grins up, and sorts into woven baskets
Yellow grain, and stalks, and leaves.

She steps through the white heat to hoe burdens of chaff under
The rich, unfailing black earth.

I alone am drifting

Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh yes! I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.

Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless.

I am different.

I am nourished by the great mother.

– Tao Te Ching

Searching

I would like to be in touch with any of the following people:

Kim Ok Gi (alternate spellings or forms: Kim Okgie, Kim Ok Gie, Ok Gi Kim, Okie Kim, Okgie Kim)
born February 19, 1963 in Seoul, Korea

 

Kim Yung Ai
last known address:
#760, 22 Ban
Bupyong-Dong
Inchon, Korea

 

Mr. Kang Jae Woo
Hung nam dang jae kwa so
Bangsan Market
5th-ka, Ulchi-ro
Seoul, Korea

 

Mr. Han Hyong Shik

 

Jang Woon Sang
#287 22nd-Ban
Bupyong-Dong
Inchon, Korea

 

Kim Jin Ho
12th-Tong, 2nd-Ban
Sue Jung, 4th-Dong, Dong-Ku
Pusan, Korea

Please email me at:
keith AT keithflower.org

Undoing

I remember waking
in afternoon slants of late autumn light
and watching you,
the crimson grapes, plump
in one slender hand
while the other hand
moved over my desk,
the metal dividers
(keys, old boarding passes,
Fast Track statements),
and you stood on nude tiptoe
before walls I’d made
of book and hope;
sharp upright edges you caressed -
undoing so much.

In battle

In battle, in forest, at the precipice of the mountains
On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him.

Bhagavad Gita

Areté

Kitto writes that during the siege of Troy, Andromache, the wife of the Trojan leader Hector, saw the Trojans driven back by the enemy toward the walls of Troy:

She ran out, like a mad woman, distracted with anxiety, to the city-walls…There Hector found her.

Andromache grasped his hand and said:

“Your strength will be your destruction; and you have no pity either for your infant son or for your unhappy wife who will soon be your widow. For soon the Acheans will set upon you and kill you; and if I lose you it would be better for me to die. I shall have no other comfort but my sorrow.”

To her in reply said Hector of the flashing helmet:

“Well do I know this, and I am sure of it: that day is coming when the holy city of Troy will perish, and Priam and the people of wealthy Priam. But my grief is not so much for the Trojans, nor for Hecuba herself, nor for Priam the King, nor for my many noble brothers, who will be slain by the foe and will lie in the dust, as for you, when one of the bronze-clad Acheans will carry you away in tears and end your days of freedom.

Then you may live in Argos, and work at the loom in another woman’s house, or perhaps carry water for a woman of Messene or Hyperia, sore against your will: but hard compulsion will lie upon you.

And then a man will say as he sees you weeping, ‘This was the wife of Hector, who was the noblest in battle of the horse-taming Trojans, when they were fighting around Ilion.’

This is what they will say: and it will be fresh grief for you, to fight against slavery bereft of a husband like that. But may I be dead, may the earth be heaped over my grave before I hear your cries, and of the violence done to you.”

Thus spake shining Hector and held out his arms to his son. But the child screamed and shrank back into the bosom of the well-girdled nurse, for he took fright at the sight of his dear father – at the bronze and the crest of the horsehair which he saw swaying terribly from the top of the helmet.

At once shining Hector took the helmet off his head and laid it on the ground, and when he had kissed his dear son and dandled him in his arms, he prayed to Zeus and to the other Gods: Zeus and ye other Gods, grant that this my son may be, as I am, most glorious among the Trojans and a man of might, and greatly rule in Ilion. And may they say, as he returns from war, ‘He is far better than his father.’

Kitto writes:

“What moves the Greek warrior to deeds of heroism is not a sense of duty as we understand it…He strives after that which we translate ‘virtue’ but is in Greek areté….excellence.”