Friday, May 22, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 48

John Morgan

Note: the zuihitsu is a Japanese form involving loosely related sections, often numbered. Calling on free association, it makes use of diary material, lyrical fragments, and brief essays. The word zuihitsu means “follow the brushstroke.” 


  1. Last night I dreamt I was washing my hands. 

  1. Strong wind. And leaves that survived the winter fall and stick. Their stiff stems hold them upright like small brown pennants waving in the drifts. 

  1. The twins, thirteen months old, were utterly charming. A girl and a boy—she stands and takes a wobbly step to loud applause.  

  1. My boot-tracks from yesterday, tracking a fox’s four-clawed trail, and ahead more tracks where a rabbit bounded across the road. Deep gashes to my right—a moose?  

  1. Our niece, a doctor in NY, writes: "Well technically I’m in the hospital, but in low density area with few face to face patients. My role is to handle the stable ones by phone. We’re trying to prevent them from having any medical reason to leave home." 

  1. The Japanese transition from fact to art: in Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North he sometimes makes things up, then alters and revises. See Earl Miner, Japanese Poetic Diaries. 

I said, “I hope he gets it.” 
She said, “I hope he gets it and it kills him.” 
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far, just let him suffer a bit.” 
“I want him dead!” 
“I’m shocked. A nice person like you…” 

  1. Within a day the twins accepted metheir great uncle, filling in for grandpa, my recently deceased brother. My white mustache is of special interest: they’d pull it if I let them.  

  1. Snow drifts at eye level out my office window. I once saw a fox out there. Digging down a foot or more, it uncovered a bird that had smashed against the window and when it finished eating, it dropped a proud turd in the hole.  

  1. They’ve discovered knobs and pull on them to see what will happen. Sometimes a door opens. Sometimes a knob comes off in your hand. 

___John Morgan

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