Monday, January 31, 2011

The Village (I)

by E. Wong

The village slumbers in anticipation,
without malice but full of lust, awaiting
the onslaught of desires—dams
need to unload their waters, jungles

must shed off dead leaves: Dream,
you sleeper, as your sleep begins.

The elders wouldn’t concur, but the shade
of poison trees feels like home, doesn’t it?
And would it be too much for one night
to be weaving tapestry that might as well
serve as blanket over feverish bodies?

Now, you may not need to consider
exchanging your sly wakefulness
for the furtive wisdom of the village
idiot. But you must envy him,
nonetheless, as on nights like this,
he is happier than everyone else.

This is not the time to think about drought,
you curious cat, for the dogs are friendly
tonight, as all the members of the Kingdom.
Matriarch also lost her knife in the kitchen,
and so for now, and just for now, your tongue
may speak of any profanity it wishes to tell

the ears, neck, breasts, and other distant
relatives. You may not have enough time,
but you can always say ‘I’ll be sailing off
in an hour,’ yet stay docked in this town
until all drowns in your gentle hands.

The village resists the rising of the light,
but the sun has its age-old job to do.
Won’t you shine a while longer, O shadow
safely obscure in the night? Yet the day

does not forget the dusk: Sleep,
you dreamer, while your dream lasts.

Artwork: "The Starry Night" (1889, Vincent van Gogh)

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