Appleblossom (Leaving Edo)

By Eric Ekstrand Eric Ekstrand
I have a need to ventilate, to have my porous body—sockets   
and holes—open to the bald-faced wind and have my heathen   inner-stuff   
tweedled like a reed flute and this piffle floats out. But walking on the   
open road, I know even open roads, to be roads at all, are ruts.   

With a careless beanfield on either side, off one more time, even you,   
Mr. Out-in-the-Woods, might as well be stuffed in your hometown bucket.   
And if these grim beams of trees are truly home, Sweet, as you say they are,   
then the timberwolves would reclaim you by singing and that would be all.
The Moon would reclaim the timberwolves—not a snarl—soft keepsakes   
asleep in the palm of Her hand. I would reclaim the Moon by picking   
a white silk chrysanthemum and resting it on the branch beside Her.   
Who would reclaim me? and say, “Blossom, we are not two. There is no road   
to or from. You cannot write a love poem. You cannot walk away.”

Each “Appleblossom” is a verse translation from the Japanese of a short selection from the notebooks of Chiri, Bashōs traveling companion during the years between Withered Chestnuts and Travelogue of Weatherbeaten Bones.

Source: Poetry (October 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2008
 Eric  Ekstrand


Eric Ekstrand lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with his husband, Danny, and his father, Ken. He teaches writing at Wake Forest University. He is the recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship awarded by the Poetry Foundation and graduated from the University of Houston with an MFA in creative writing in 2010. His first full-length collection, Laodicea, was selected by Donald Revell for the Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize and . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

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