FIRST LESSON: WINTER TREES
These winter trees charcoaled against bare sky,
a few quick strokes on the papery
blankness, mean to suggest the mind
leaping into paper, into sky, not bound
by the body's strict borders. The correspondence
school instructor writes: The ancient
masters loved to brush the trees
in autumn, their blossoms fallen.
I've never desired the trees' generous
flowering, but prefer this austere
beauty, the few branches nodding
like... like hair swept over a sleeping
lover's mouth, I almost thought too fast.
Soon enough these patient alders
will begin to blossom in their wild
unremembering to inhabit the jade,
celebratory personae of late summer.
So the task is simple: to live
without yearning, to kindle
this empty acre with trees touched
by winter, to shade them without simile,
without strain. There: the winter trees.
Their singular, hushed sufficiency.
Again. Again. Again. Again. Again.
Now you may begin to sketch the ceaseless winter rain.