Ten Days

Ten Days

The bell shattered the silence.
She opened the door ajar, the chain in safety;
her heart leaps to see his face, 
the past ten days fluttering in her mind;
little bird of time.

He went to visit his siblings , and
she didn't go with him. Law-daughter teased.
He might not come back. 

It was our agreement, Mother said.
shortened visit was not in his favor;
her stay would be only a few days.

When young, they were like,
me-and-my-shadow togetherness;
when old, they each have their own shadow;
they even have their own space for ease.

the ten days separation is water;
water cannot be cut. 

©Byung A. Fallgren



(From Substance, Shadow, and Spirit, 
by Tao Yuanming.)

There is no way to preserve life. 
Drugs of immortality are instruments of folly.
I would gladly wander in paradise,
But it is far away and there is no road.
Since the day that I was joined to you
We have shared all our joys and pains.
While you rested in the shade, I left you a while:
But till the end we shall be together.
Our joint existence is impermanent:
Sadly together we shall slip away.
That when the body decays Fame should also go
Is a thought un-endurable, burning the heart.
Let us strive and labor while yet we may
To do some deed that men will praise.
Wine may in truth dispel our sorrow,
But how compare it with lasting fame?

"Substance Shadow, and Spirit" appears in Arthur Waley's
A hundred and Seventy Chines Poems (Alfred Knopf, 1918).
Tao Yuanming , also known as Tao Qian, is believed to have
been born in the year 365 in China. He is one of the great
hermit poets of ancient Chinese literature. He died in
the year 427. 


The Days When the Stars Wept

The Days when the Stars Wept

To be a youth was a curse in nineteen-sixties
in the tiny corner of the world;
the peninsular divided in two, South and North;
joining in the bloody demos, after school hours,
like extra-curricular classes.
mostly out of patriotism; to rebuild the loose system.
the more often the parties went on, the more of them 
fell, the petals in the storm.
Everyone prayed in silence for miracle, to save them.

Then the time had come;
the night sky above the city was blazing;
the air smelled of gunpowder.
Everyone's heart leaped, but no one 
talked about it, in fear of the dark net
that might swallow them. 
the old leader's demise, and the General assumed
the Blue House as the frontier of the new age.

Many years later, the childhood friends still gathered
in memory of their brothers 

who vanished 
in the night wind. 

©Byung A. Fallgren



all night long
gutter drums with drizzle
Mother's heart

Mother's Day
poor daughter sends her selfie
with a love poem

Mother thinks 
that is the best gift she's 
ever received

©Byung A. Fallgren

Afternoon by the River

Afternoon by the River

After shopping,
grab the sandwich,
go to the riverside bench and eat;
eyes on the river pregnent with spring,

so much to do 
in the days to come;
the branch nods to the gibberish robin;
as the sun showers over the trees.

Time to come, time to leave;
why feel as if an invisible hand on my back;
no one but the passing wind, sun and the river.  

©Byung A. Fallgren

The Couple of birds on the Pink bough

The Couple of Birds on the Pink bough

Within the pink world,
sweet smell and cozy;
he leans to her, yawns, and closes eyes.

She nudges; don't be so lazy, dear,
hawk's eyes are magnet to us.

Ah, he murmurs, have a faith in the blossoms,
while their magic lasts; like the lone house,
stands unscathed in the ruins of the twister.

I'll keep an eye open for you;

flowers and magics are whims of wind;
my love is the root of a tree. 

©Byung A. Fallgren