Guest poem submitted by H. K. Tang:
(Poem #1356) Qingdao: December
Here by the sea this quiet night I see the moon through misted light. The water laps the rocks below. I hear it lap and swash and go. The pine-trees, dense and earthward-bent, Suffuse the air with resin-scent. A landward breeze combs through my hair And cools the earth with salted air. Here all attempt in life appears Irrelevant. The erosive years That build the moon and the rock and tree Speak of a sweet futility And say that we who are from birth Caressed by unimpulsive earth Should yield our fever to the trees, The seaward light and the resined breeze. Here by the sea this quiet night Where my still spirit could take flight And nullify the heart's distress Into the peace of wordlessness, I see the light, I breathe the scent, I touch the insight, but a bent Of heart exacts its old designs And draws my hands to write these lines.
Vikram's poems remind me of poems from the Tang Dynasty. It is hardly surprising since he translated Tang poems. "Qingdao: December" is taken from his collection 'All You Who Sleep Tonight'. The first few lines immediately mesmerize with the tranquility of a seaside town on the eastern coast of China. The rhymes and measures fuse so naturally with the surroundings being described that one hardly notices the clever structure of the poem. This I guess is the beauty of Vikram's art, it soothes and hypnotizes. The poem ends with a magical snap by referring to a "bent of heart exacts its old designs and draws my hands to write these lines". It is a wonderful illustration of how rest and relaxation, ironically one may say, stimulate the creative mind. H. K. Tang