A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
When winter takes on fall
She beats downs leaves; they all turn brown,
And humans look up, frown.
When once-green leaves have flown away
We hear woodland ghosts bay
All through the night, through day’s wan light.
We eagerly await the sight
Of those orange-brown creatures, white with snow—
They live on edge, they know
That they will stay, we’ll go away.
Ed. Note: Lục bát is a traditional Vietnamese verse form. “Lục bát” means “six eight,” referring to the alternating lines of six and eight syllables. The poem always begins with a six-syllable line and ends with an eight-syllable one. Unlike other verse forms which are traditionally enjoyed only by high-class Vietnamese, lục bát is traditionally composed and enjoyed by people of all classes, from the lowly peasants to the noble princes. The rich treasure of Vietnamese folk poems (ca dao), which consists of hundred thousands of verses that reflect on life, morality, human relationships, and natural beauty, is almost entirely composed in lục bát form.
Poem copyright 2020 Bertha Rogers