Heaven, Or Notes on a Cemetery in Hong Kong

In one area of this neighborhood cemetery
are the Japanese.  Loved ones
bring sticks of incense, which smoke
throughout the day.
Some leave cups of sake,
bottles of beer.
 
One woman burns paper money,
for her husband’s love
of gambling. 
 
I imagine my former lovers
leaning from heaven’s windows, shouting
my name, inviting me up.
 
But here in the Christian area of the cemetery
a sad resignation reigns.
Most relatives have moved long ago,
found jobs in other cities,
 
left behind their flower vases
like mailboxes in front
of abandoned houses,   
 

empty.

Bob Bradshaw

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Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."

a

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