She’s bent and old and toothless now
when she comes to lift the drainage gate
and send droplets flashing to the river below.

Only a few springs since, it seems to me, she
was fresh and lithe and followed by a boy
who grimaced when he ate my sour fruit

and threw the stones at swallows.
Ah now, good now, slowly now
with my sap my intelligence rises

and I live again, and soon set bloom
when the cold winds settle down at last.
Then I’ll have in bees and wasps and surphid flies

a hundred light and teasing lovers all at once.
Now I’ll open, open, relax and I’ll open
my sweet white clouds under lapis skies.


From Notes From a Mountain Village, forthcoming with Barbican Press in 2015.