An Ode in Hunan

You walk by the lake up the mountain
The monks long gone, the monastery
In ruins, the land wet, the rice deep

The laughter of your childhood the scatter
Of crows. The dust on your feet is thick,
Cakes in the sun, your eyes dark as a pool

Your hair in the wind, the salt on your lips.
You always go quiet when your pulse is up
Your words coming and going, fading in and out

Where below your family comes and goes
The trees bending, the unsaid prayers
Stacking up, pagodas under a sharp, blue sky

And in the distance small figures cluster
As if vihara in the rock cliffs, and beyond
Your shoulders a mirage of stupa

And our eyes, tongues, fingers, feet
Seem to pass, the one the other,
And what we say and taste is and is not.

Jonathan Locke Hart

Jonathan Locke Hart

Jonathan Locke Hart, Chair Professor, School of Translation, Shandong University (Fellow CRRS, Toronto; Associate,Harvard University Herbaria)is a poet, historian and literary scholar who studied at Toronto and Cambridge and has taught literary theory, intellectual and cultural history, and creative writing in Canada, France, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States,for instance,at Princeton, the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), Cambridge, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Peking University. As a poet, has collaborated with artists to create artist books and exhibitions. His collections include Unforgetting Private Charles Smith (2019), The Burning Lake (2016), Musing (2011), Dreamwork (2010), Dream Salvage (2003), Dream China (2002), and Breath and Dust (2000). His work has appeared in Harvard Review, Mattoid, Quarry, The Antigonish Review, among other journals; his poems and some of his books have been translated to several languages, including Chinese, French, Polish,Romanian, Estonian, Slovenian and Greek.
Jonathan Locke Hart

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Author: Jonathan Locke Hart

Jonathan Locke Hart, Chair Professor, School of Translation, Shandong University (Fellow CRRS, Toronto; Associate, Harvard University Herbaria) is a poet, historian and literary scholar who studied at Toronto and Cambridge and has taught literary theory, intellectual and cultural history, and creative writing in Canada, France, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States, for instance, at Princeton, the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), Cambridge, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Peking University. As a poet, has collaborated with artists to create artist books and exhibitions. His collections include Unforgetting Private Charles Smith (2019), The Burning Lake (2016), Musing (2011), Dreamwork (2010), Dream Salvage (2003), Dream China (2002), and Breath and Dust (2000). His work has appeared in Harvard Review, Mattoid, Quarry, The Antigonish Review, among other journals; his poems and some of his books have been translated to several languages, including Chinese, French, Polish, Romanian, Estonian, Slovenian and Greek.