Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: Eight Notes on the Rain   

Kien waited for death, calmly recognizing

            that it would be ugly and inelegant.

-Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War

 

1

spring rain, like ether, daubs down

memory, mutes a red-orange sky

 

2

prism of the possible, dissolving

on a petal

 

3

scorched pines on the fire-lake,

contretemps of rain

 

4

the grey, cold flow of mud, silent

drizzle on the dead man’s eyes

 

5

black squalls of anguish, a river

of ribboned rice fields

 

6

craters gorge the sodden earth,

green vapor rising

 

7

hag of sorrow, sister to the wind,

pelt, burn, drive—

 

8

oh, ripeness of redemption

what is now the rain


 

Copyright 2018 Joan E. Bauer

Note: “Eight Notes on the Rain” is an homage to Vietnamese author Bao Ninh, written after reading his book, The Sorrow of War, some years ago. Bao Ninh served in the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade. Of the five hundred who went to war with the North Vietnamese brigade in 1969, he is one of ten who survived. Bao Ninh was interviewed as part of the Ken Burns series on Vietnam, and now lives in Hanoi where he is an essayist, editor and short story writer.  -JB

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