George Freek: Peach Blossom Spring

peach blossom

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George Freek is a poet and playwright from Illinois. His poems have recently appeared in The Stockholm Review of Literature, Signal Mountain Review,  Miller’s Pond, A New Ulster and The Gentian Journal. His plays are published by Playscripts,  Blue Moon Plays and Off The Wall Plays.

George explains:
‘Although the poems published here are inspired by early Chinese poetry, they are all
original compositions.’

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George Freek: Six Poems

George Freek

PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING: ON A PAINTING BY TAO CHI

The mountains rise up
in grim shapes,
looming far above
the workers and the monk,
meditating in his cell.
They ignore the towering rocks
at their peril.
What else can they do?
The mountains indifferently
turn away. You are
transient, they seem to say.
And where are the peach trees,
and peach blossoms,
and where is spring?
They’re not even there.
They’re unimportant.
The mountains are everything.

QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS
After Tu Fu

It’s peaceful to sit in my garden,
to sit with the lilies,
the bluebells and hibiscus.
But the leaves now harden,
and shadows like ashes
cover the roses.
The birds’ nest is empty.
They seek kinder weather.
Soon all will be smothered
by ice and snow. One leaf
clings to its branch,
but it soon will go.
My wife is dead. Death
changes everything.
The leaf doesn’t know it.
Is it better to know?
One’s life is a task.
Questions without answers
are better left unasked.

HIEROGLYPHICS
After Su Tung Po

Moonbeams ripple on the waves
and flow with the river,
drifting I don’t know where.
I don’t care. I doze
in the chilly air,
then waken from uneasy dreams.
I’m almost sixty,
but I no longer know what
anything means.
I watch a drunk stumble
along the shore. He is lost
between heaven and earth.
He stares at a billion stars,
as if they contained
a message he could read.
Will he find something
to satisfy his desperate need?
I fear it’s not to be.

THE GEOMETRY OF LIFE
After Mei Yao Chen

The night sticks to my skin
like tar. It surrounds me.
It sucks up the light.
I look for the moon or a star.
They’re nowhere to be seen.
My eyes glow like fiery ice.
Hot coals are burning my spleen.
My stomach is full of lead.
Snakes wriggle through my veins.
Worms eat into my brain.
Let me wake if this is a dream,
or are things as they seem?
Leaves cling to my shoes,
leaves that are dead.
I stumble, lost in the dark.
I’m a miserable coward,
and my wife is dying in her bed.

THE RINGS OF SATURN
After Liu Yong

And the moon is in a place
I’ll never find, and the stars
will still light the sky
when I’m no longer here
to ask myself why.
Where will I be?
I’ve traveled through life
for sixty years.
It was a pointless journey
to another mystery.
I watch a cricket crawl
through the grass
into the belly of a snake.
I’m suddenly afraid.
He could just as well be me.

MELANCHOLIA
After Tu Fu

The moon cuts the stars
into a million pieces.
I stare at the dismembered sky,
and watch leaves falling
from denuded trees.
Night spread like a fungus.
Nature is as cold as an oyster.
Suddenly, from the wood,
a young doe appears,
in her infectious beauty.
Frightened by my shadow,
she rushes away,
as soft as dreaming sleep.
Later, in the tall grass,
I find her torn carcass,
and sated turkey vultures
at their rapacious feast.

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