To hear the poet read "Quotations," click
Renoir, whose paintings I don't much like,
Says what survives of the artist is the feeling he gives by means of objects.
I do like that, however,
The feeling put in as much as the feeling received
To make a work distinctive,
Though I'm not sure it's true,
or even it's workable.
When Chekov died, he died at dawn,
a large moth circling the lamp,
Beating its pressed wings.
Placed in a zinc casket, the corpse, labeled Fresh Oysters,
Was sent to Moscow in a freight car from Germany.
His last words were, Has the sailor left?,
I am dying, Ich sterbe.
My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me
Job says. They change the night into day--
The light is short because of darkness ...
I have said to corruption,
thou art my father, to the worm,
Thou art my mother and my sister--
They shall go down to the bars of the pit,
when our rest together is in the dust.
That's all. There's nothing left after that.
As Meng Chiao says,
For a while the dust weighs lightly on my cloak.