Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sam Hamill — To the Tune: Boat of Stars

Spring after spring, I sat before my mirror. Now I tire of braiding plum buds in my hair.   I’ve gone another year without you, shuddering with each letter—   … Continue reading

November 22, 2017 · Leave a comment

Sam Hamill — To the Tune: Plum Blossoms

The fragrance of red lotuses has faded. Autumn settles at my door.   I loosen my robe and drift in an orchid boat. Someone sent me love notes in the … Continue reading

October 27, 2017 · 1 Comment

Sam Hamill: Poetry, Politics, and Zen

If only we could touch the things of this world at their center, if we could only hear tiny leaves of birch struggling toward April, then we would know. — … Continue reading

September 3, 2017 · 10 Comments

Sam Hamill: Approaching Winter Solstice

A bitter wind out of the north, gulls frozen to their icy perches, and a lone tug inching its way across the bay. On the eastern horizon, the great mountain … Continue reading

December 16, 2016 · 5 Comments

Sam Hamill: Three Haiku by Issa

  In the midst of this world we stroll along the roof of hell gawking at flowers — O autumn winds, tell me where I’m bound, to which particular hell … Continue reading

November 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Sam Hamill: What the Water Knows

What the mouth sings, the soul must learn to forgive. A rat’s as moral as a monk in the eyes of the real world. Still, the heart is a river … Continue reading

September 9, 2016 · 3 Comments

Sam Hamill: A Noble Truth

    Falling in love is a failing. From samudaya comes dukkha, our perpetual suffering, consequence of our own desire. And who is it that does not long for love, … Continue reading

September 2, 2016 · 2 Comments

Sam Hamill: True Peace

Half broken on that smoky night, hunched over sake in a serviceman’s dive somewhere in Naha, Okinawa, nearly fifty years ago, I read of the Saigon Buddhist monks who stopped … Continue reading

July 16, 2016 · 2 Comments

Sam Hamill: The New York Poem

I sit in the dark, not brooding exactly, not waiting for the dawn that is just beginning, at six-twenty-one, in gray October light behind the trees. I sit, breathing, mind … Continue reading

May 28, 2016 · 2 Comments

Sam Hamill: “Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain” by Li Po

The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away. We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains. — From Crossing the Yellow … Continue reading

February 19, 2016 · 4 Comments

Sam Hamill: The Orchid Flower

Just as I wonder whether it’s going to die, the orchid blossoms and I can’t explain why it moves my heart, why such pleasure comes from one small bud on … Continue reading

February 12, 2016 · 2 Comments

Sam Hamill: Who Will Stand With The Innocents?

Fifty years ago, I found myself in the war-ravaged former nation of Okinawa, where some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific War had taken place, and where I began … Continue reading

May 3, 2015 · 3 Comments

Sam Hamill: Old Bones

I. All the quiet afternoon splitting wood, thinking about books, I remembered Snyder making a handle for an ax as he remembered Ezra Pound thirty years before, thinking about Lu … Continue reading

March 15, 2015 · 7 Comments

Sam Hamill: On the Anniversary of Her Death

Awakened from a restless, wine-inspired sleep, I wake in the night to find Yuan Chen’s elegy and read, “Even if I had wings, the net of grief would snare me.” … Continue reading

September 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

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