Willows of the Fourth Ring

1 February 2013

The willows in the winter wind,
green-yellow octopi or as the tails
of cartoon comets:

such is their movement
without the labourers
who with long poles

coax the last recalcitrant
tawny leaves from branches
which sag without despair.

That was
earlier.

I speak now of a rising nation
resurgent,
of the contested ground

searching not
for the first time
without its borders.

Is it by a revolution of
tentacles or that
spectacular night-lit trail

they will arrive
or are arriving?

There are no sentries
upon the walls,
only tourists biking

atop the enclosed bricks
of Xian and the
Great Wall spreads

its webbed and callused
feet upon the world…

So in winter the willows
blow back upon themselves
and over

the Fourth Ring Road
flying above SUVs that are
death and may be still death.

Surely they are
not honourable.

I will move as the willows move
rooted here, the green and yellow
octopi if not the comet’s trailing

and may likewise arrive

and appear spectacular.

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