Saturday, June 25, 2005

Two Poems by Lee Herrick

I can't resist. Here are a couple of poems from my manuscript (under consideration at a few presses) called This Many Miles from Desire.


Yes, the ocean is Buddhist. And the foam
scrambling onto the beach is a symphony
of cymbals, small and caring like mothers
whispering to their children in the front pew,
sssshhh. Perhaps then the trees should
believe in God. Of course. How they reach
straight up after all those years like the Chinese
grandmothers rising at dusk, when the air's
cleanest, an orchestra of their own, stretching
toward the sun. None of this is true. The ocean
is only Buddhist beacuse a poet writes of it
that way--just like the grandmothers who keep
surfacing in his poems, usually dancing
somewhere near a body of water, blissfully.

Published in The Peralta Press, Spring 2004.


I am learning to play the taiko, to feel
how leaves reappear in the trees with such ease.
One monk says this will teach me to hear
the variations of my name:
how my lover sighs it,
how a teacher grinded it out like a curse,
how your mother says it, drowning in a lake
before she leaves you. How it means somewhere
between mothers, not quite the rose
but not quite the roots. Like the woman
who finds you says, Lee, like a discovery--
one more child found in the world's history
of found children. How she said it like the echo
of one plucked E string, a clear pang of delight.

Published in The Willow Review, Spring 2004.


Mor X. Chang said...


I like your poems.

I like how the ocean expresses itself into a Buddhist.

Nice poems!


barbara jane said...

wow lee, thanks for posting these. i think the sonnet-esque form is lovely, and i think this form serves to contain well (ie not restrain) this very fluid, seamless poetic voice of yours.

i especially appreciate how you can get at what's linguistically, historically, and culturally nuanced while sustaining a gentle (for lack of a better word) tone.

Lee Herrick said...

hey, thanks for your nice comments. i'm working on some poems I wrote in Central America. Strange how environment affects one's writing.

Thanks again,


Michael Parker said...

These are wonderful poems!

Pris said...

I hadn't been this far back in your blog until Michael saw these and directed me here. I'm so grateful. These are so beautiful both in content and in your writing, itself, they bring tears. Just lovely. These bring some of the same gentle qualities Li Young-Lee brings to his poems.

azure_erin said...

I followed Michael Parker's recommendation and visited today... your work is exquisite!

I love the vivid pictures you paint with your words, and the lyricism to the poems that are almost prose.


Lee Herrick said...

Thanks azure_erin!


Eun-jung Kil said...

I could never express enough how truly gifted you are. How blessed I am to know you, and to be enriched by your skillful mastering of language and imagery.

I love ya Lee! :-)


Stu said...

I love 'Ars Poetica'. I also loved 'Belief' (I checked out that link too). Truly wonderful.