Trial by Jury

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE LEARNED JUDGE
THE PLAINTIFF
THE DEFENDANT
COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFF
USHER
FOREMAN OF THE JURY
ASSOCIATE
FIRST BRIDESMAID


SCENE - A Court of Justice, Barristers, Attorney, and Jurymen
discovered.

CHORUS

Hark, the hour of ten is sounding:
Hearts with anxious fears are bounding,
Hall of Justice, crowds surrounding,
Breathing hope and fear--


Traveling Dream

I am packing to go to the airport
but somehow I am never packed.
I keep remembering more things
I keep forgetting.

Secretly the clock is bolting
forward ten minutes at a click
instead of one. Each time
I look away, it jumps.

Now I remember I have to find
the cats. I have four cats
even when I am asleep.
One is on the bed and I slip

her into the suitcase.
One is under the sofa. I
drag him out. But the tabby
in the suitcase has vanished.


To Wang Lun

Li Po takes a boat and is about to depart
When suddenly he hears the sound of footsteps
and singing on the shore.

The water in the Peach Blossom pool is
a thousand feet deep
But not as deep as Wang Lun's parting love for me

(translated by Liu Wu-Chi)


Toomai of the Elephants

I will remember what I was. I am sick of rope and chain--
I will remember my old strength and all my forest-affairs.
I will not sell my back to man for a bundle of sugarcane.
I will go out to my own kind, and the wood-folk in their lairs.

I will go out until the day, until the morning break,
Out to the winds 'untainted kiss, the waters' clean caress.
I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket-stake.
I will revisit my lost loves, and playmates masterless!


Tor House

If you should look for this place after a handful
of lifetimes:
Perhaps of my planted forest a few
May stand yet, dark-leaved Australians or the coast
cypress, haggard
With storm-drift; but fire and the axe are devils.
Look for foundations of sea-worn granite, my fingers
had the art
To make stone love stone, you will find some remnant.
But if you should look in your idleness after ten
thousand years:
It is the granite knoll on the granite


Told

The air lay soffly on the green fur
of the almond, it was April

and I said, I begin again
but my hands burned in the damp earth

the light ran between my fingers
a black light like no other

this was not home, the linnet
settling on the oleander

the green pod swelling
the leaf slowly untwisting

the slashed egg fallen from the nest
the tongue of grass tasting

I was being told by a pulse slowing
in the eyes

the dove mourning in shadow


To W. Hohenzollern, on Resuming The Conning Tower

Well William, since I wrote you long ago--
As I recall, one cool October morning--
(I have The Tribune files. They clearly show
I gave you warning).

Since when I penned that consequential ode,
The world has seen a vast amount of slaughter,
And under many a Gallic bridge has flowed
A lot of water.

I said when your people ceased to strafe,
That when you'd put an end to all this war stuff,
And all the world was reasonably safe
I'd write some more stuff.


To Thomas Moore

My boat is on the shore,
And my bark is on the sea;
But, before I go, Tom Moore,
Here's a double health to thee!

Here's a sigh to those who love me,
And a smile to those who hate;
And, whatever sky's above me,
Here's a heart for every fate.

Though the ocean roar around me,
Yet it still shall bear me on;
Though a desert should surround me,
It hath springs that may be won.

Were't the last drop in the well,
As I gasp'd upon the brink,
Ere my fainting spirit fell,


To the Tune of

The fragrance of the pink lotus
fails, the jade mat hints of autumn.
Softly I unfasten my silk cloak,
Who is sending a letter from
among the clouds?
When the swan message returns,
the balcony is flooded with moonlight.

The blossoms drift on, the water flows.
There is the same yearning of the heart,
But it abides in two places.
There is no way to drive away this yearning:
Driven from the eyebrows,
It enters the heart.


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