You May Leave a Memory, Or You Can be Feted by Crows

By Dick Allen b. 1939 Dick Allen Read the Q & A
Three years, Huang Gongwang
worked on his famous handscroll,
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.

As he put successive applications of ink to paper
over the “one burst of creation,” his original design,
it is said he often sang like a tree frog
and danced on his old bare feet.

One day, he adds one hemp fiber stroke,
the next a moss dot.

What patience he had,
like a cat who comes back season after season to a mole’s tunnel.

Honors may go to others.
Riches may go to others.
Huang Gongwang has one great job to do.

And he sings like a tree frog,
and he dances on old bare feet.

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 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Religion, Other Religions, The Spiritual, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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