Borrowed Words: by Bonnie McClellan


Adam to Eve, later in life,
after babel’s tower fell,
began his speech with borrowed words:
“Oh, my love!”
What world would I not give now
for that eternal, ancient fantasy:
“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou!”
In the shade of Kunitz’ VERY TREE,
the gentle spark released beneath
lithe pressure of your palm
above my heart
which would break
its fragile net of bone to rest
that narrow distance
closer to your flesh.
Now distracted by quick thoughts
of two french words: “chair” for flesh and “peau” for skin.
The first implying something
more animal/essential; the second softer,
more sensual than elemental:
“chair de ma chair.”
“os de mon os.”
ossature de ma vie.
bone network, calcite frame.
like bread,
like wine;
in my bones singing:
“sang de mon sang”
with each red cell
new marrow-minted.

rushing with the river: by Hán Ruì Yǎ

it is a dark starry night
he holds my hand so tight
splashing river is so bright
as ripples of diamonds in sight.

we run over the crunchy leaves
flop plop in the mud to reach
a boat at the bank of river
fastened but floating with fervor.

he jumps in the boat so quick
and pulls me with such brisk
so waves swoosh and swirl
and whispering breeze to trees
who rustle with joy and zeal.

he paddles the boat with struggle
some pebbles I pick as treasure
blue moon beholds us and smiles
our endless journey now begins.


To hear the poet’s reading of this work, click on the arrow of the audio player below:

To read more poetry by Hán Ruì Yǎ, you can find her here at All Poetry or find both poetry and prose at her wordpress blog Becoming Confucius.