Poetry / December 2013 (Issue 22)

Three Poems

by Sean Prentiss

After Four Years in the City

T’ao Ch’ien writes,
A tethered bird longs for its forest,
A pond fish its deep waters.

Reading Master Tao, I now understand
This four year chest-knot—the nearest
Wilderness an hour of suburban commute.

I dream of selling that house, giving away
Bags of goods, furniture, saying goodbye
To friends and city noise.

Returning to quiet mountains, I’ll recite,
The words of Master T’ao
Back again: after so long in that trap.

After Four Years Working in the City

I wake come morning and look out the window
At the only bit of nature here, an old oak

That in the highest wind beats against
This house. It’s all futile.

The traffic of Fulton, a well-worn
Road, hums. And it’s still all futile.

As a car horn wails, I read
The distant words of T’ao Ch’ien,

I dream of my life among mountains and lakes.
Through those words, I learn that this part

Of the long journey is only temporary.

T’ao Ch’ien Again Convinces Me to Quit My Job

Sarah, is it time again to quit
Our jobs, forsake our accounts?
We each understand the lure
Of long trails weaving mountain
Passes high and glittered with
Snow. Shall we walk again,
This time together?

Master T’ao is correct:
         All this brings back such joy I forget
         Glittering careers.

I long for more and more of
Nothing, Sarah, but time.
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