ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems Inspired by Early Chinese Poetry, by George Freek

(After Lu Yu)

The sky is poised for snow.
Flowers no longer grow.
As the wind shakes
the branches, I rearrange
my pipe’s dead ashes.
I’m waiting for spring
and its resurging hopes.
The moon is a question mark,
lost in a black sea.
I watch a bug crawl
up my cracked wall,
and sip my cold tea.
I’m surrounded by ghosts.
They remind me of my sins.
They are like vultures,
arriving from I don’t
where. It seems unfair,
but I’m too indifferent to care.


(After Lu Yu)

I stare at the sky.
The stars are there,
But they can’t be seen.
Is my mind playing tricks?
Sages say nothing of
such things, as they ponder
their morning coffee,
or paying their rent.
They consider that
time well spent.
Trees wave like black
Umbrellas, and life moves on.
It seems almost over
before it’s begun.
I grow smaller every day.
But I can’t tell you why
things are that way.
I drink my wine,
and mutter nonsense
into the unheeding air.
I think the future is
foreordained. It will be
exactly like the past.
I can’t care. I
won’t even be there.


(After Liu Yong)

My mind is on banal things.
That leaf falling from that tree
is reality to me.
And the moon, as I know it,
is only in my mind. Yet
I think there’s another moon,
beyond my thinking,
which I will never find.
I hear a night bird,
Which I can’t see,
singing a haunting melody
in some distant tree.
I’m afraid I’m growing old,
staring at that moon,
looking for birds,
which I’ll never find,
and which care nothing about me.

Author George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Illinois. His poems have recently appeared in "Signal Mountain"; "A New Ulster"; "The Stockholm Review of Literature"; and "Miller's Pond." His plays are published by Playscripts and Off The Wall Plays.

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