Home / Poetry / Finding My Older Brother /Plumes of Paper Mill Steam
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finding My Older Brother /Plumes of Paper Mill Steam

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Finding My Older Brother


In history this never happens.
But in life, all the time.
My older brother, who died  before he was born,
has been found!
He is 1,200 years old, more or less.
His name is Han-shan, a kitchen helper,
the poet call Cold Mountain.
SInce the day I was born, I missed his voice.

44                                                  
Plumes of Paper Mill Steam


On a piece of lined paper the size of a Chinese poem,
I write a Chinese- sized poem.
The words sound like English because I stand where I was born,
on the shore of a Great Lake.  Her forests and rivers
unroll around me in plumes of paper mill steam.
I hope to get to China before I die,
where paper was invented, poetry before that.
There my verses will turn into faces.
The people will nod with gentility and respect.




James P. Lenfestey grew up in DePere, and although a resident of Minneapolis for 35 years, still glows with his inner Wisconsin.  A former academic, marketing communications professional and editorial writer for the StarTribune, he has published collections of essays and six poetry collections, including SAYING GRACE (featuring Wisconsin poems)  and A CARTLOAD OF SCROLLS; 1OO POEMS IN THE MANNER OF T'ANG DYNASTY POET HAN-SHAN.


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