1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Prayer for a Bamboo-Flowering Famine by Karen An-hwei Lee
Prayer for a Bamboo-Flowering Famine

Related Poem Content Details

Every half century, the synchronous flowering of bamboo causes famine in parts of India.

May we blossom every fifty years
without afflicting the people.

May our seedpods nourish rodents
who roam our groves

without rebuking lands with famine.
May sweet potatoes and rice save us.

May ginger and turmeric flourish
to the bitter distaste of rats

while tresses of bamboo flowers
changeling white wasps

load the groves with seed
in rare perennial synchrony.  

May our sisters flower en masse
hundreds of square miles apart   

in the pale night. May our shoots  
pray a silent vision of healing,  

our rhizome-laden memories:
Yes, we share our hunger

only once on this earth, my love.
Let us bless our fruit and multiply.


Source: Poetry (November 2010)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Prayer for a Bamboo-Flowering Famine

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information