li-young lee, again

excerpt from Persimmons:
This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking   
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,   
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.   
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,   
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,   
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times   
eyes closed. These I painted blind.   
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,   
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight. 

~ by Li-Young Lee,
 “Persimmons” from Rose.


J Cosmo Newbery said...

That was truly lovely.
(He said, wet eyed.)

goatman said...

His poem is alot like yours are: first person descriptive.
I have an ink stone, hard ink stick, a brush and ricepaper but have never indulged in using them. Maybe its time?

red dirt girl said...

Indeed, it is a lovely poem, Cosmo - even in its lengthy entirety. I especially love the varied meanings and weight of 'persimmons' - how one never forgets the scent of a loved one's hair. I think of the weight of my body, ripe, in the palms of my lover's hands ...


red dirt girl said...

You know goatman, I was thinking the very same thought after re-reading this excerpt. I thought how similar the sound and rhythm of my words and this one. I suppose I've soaked in much from Mr. Lee. You tend to emulate those you adore ...

Please post photo results of your artistic endeavors!! (Yet another item to add to your to-do list :)