Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Poem by Joshua Bocher

Getting Older, Learning Wisdom

"Set off upon the sea in a small raft"
                                -- Confucius

"Fear expresses itself in flight"
                               -- George Herbert Mead

A sense of shame
Friends strung together on a single thread
Discuss the loftiest matters
The essence of thinking
The prospect of minor gains
Overstepping the bounds
Wild and ambitious aspirations
Masquerading as wisdom
Harbor grudges
Take him to task
Petty man
Struggles to speak
When he had wept
The taste of medicinal herbs
And vinegar
A bird alighting on a branch
Before flying away
A rhinoceros has escaped his cage
Get to the bottom of it
Growling and snapping
Tone of voice
Take a walk
The glance of an eye
A source of sudden thunder
Thinks me cruel
Cherishes honesty in both word and action
Pushed to one side
Out of which springs
The intensity of this light
Arrogant, isolated mistake
Tendency to run away
Sidestepping the question
In a spiritual manner
A piece of beautiful jade
Left by the side of the road
No more than floating clouds
If not for this man
This wind bends the grass
Newly ripened grain
Giving a wicker basket to make amends
The warmth found at this house
As though gliding on wings
I'd like to learn wisdom
Forgive everything, forget nothing
Train myself not to mix my conflicts

Joshua Bocher is a graduate student at Harvard University, where he researches Chinese poetry. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in several journals, including Spinozablue, Illuminations, Counterexample Poetics, The 22 Blog, and Full of Crow Poetry.

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