Calligraphy Accompanied by the Mood of a Calm but Definitive Sauce

By Dick Allen b. 1939 Dick Allen Read the Q & A
Make your strokes thus: the horizontal:
as a cloud that slowly drifts across the horizon;
the vertical: as an ancient but strong vine stem;
the dot: a falling rock;
and learn to master the sheep leg, the tiger’s claw,
an apricot kernel, a dewdrop, the new moon,
the wave rising and falling. Do these
while holding your arm out above the paper
like the outstretched leg of a crane.
The strength of your hand
will give the stroke its bone.
But for real accomplishment, it would be well
if you would go to live solitary in a forest silence,
or beside a river flowing serenely.
It might also be useful
to look down a lonesome road,
and for the future
to stare into the gray static of a television screen,
or when lost in a video game
to accept you may never reach the final level,
where the dragon awaits, guarding the pot of gold,
and that you’ve left no footprints, not a single one,
despite all your adventures,
anyone following you could ever follow.

Source: Poetry (December 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2011
 Dick  Allen

Biography

Dick Allen grew up near the Adirondack Mountains in Round Lake, New York. He received his BA from Syracuse University and his MA from Brown University. His numerous poetry collections include Present Vanishing: Poems (2008) and Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected (1997).

Allen is one of the founders of Expansive poetry, a movement that started in the 1980s and includes New Formalism and New Narrative. As Allen writes in . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Religion, Buddhism, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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