Room of Four Learning

by Milla Van Der Have

Here I weighed what was lost. Measured it up against

these tiny fragments of time and wondered. What is

the latitude for loneliness and isn’t there a number for

everything under the heavens, not even for their son?

Here I recited things close to the heart. The quick-witted

fox, the morning star. Here I wondered about the simple

grievance of emperor and ox alike. Yet I wondered more

about my idle hands. It’s slipping away. I can tell.

The dragon dance. No more. Obtuse science, revolutionary

riddles of fortune? All gone. Not even an emperor can

exceed what has been laid out for him. There’s a chart

for everything  under the heavens, even for those cast out by them.

Here, when evening grew cool, I read the old folks’ tales. Now I

muster up Confucius as one does old courage. Dusty and worn, it

must suffice to stand against the everlasting vastness.

For in my garden  it still sings.  A lone magpie. Smalltime omen.

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Filed under Issue 5: The Far East, Poetry

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