Spring Poems for the Spring Equinox

Mar 20, 2019 | Feature, Town Crier

Recently on the Town Crier, we were discussing a plague of Seattle Spring poets.

With the Spring Equinox now upon us, let us celebrate in verse!

Today we’ll be showcasing the poetry of Shin Yu Pai.

Shin Yu Pai was one of our four In-Residence for our 2018 Inside/Out season. One of the Town Hall events she curated was “Sacred in the Everyday,” an evening of poetry and conversation with Zen Buddhist and poet Peter Levitt. You can watch that performance here.

Without further ado some spring poems…

the uncarved block

the thing we think
we want, perfection

to honor a fidelity
to origin when all

was ever in a state
of emerging

the soft bones forming
a newborn’s skull

the fontanelle of the David’s
marble crown left undone

imperfection a wholeness
complete in and of itself

the gift

in another land
I ask permission to take
from the fig tree

my guide says
the Bhutanese believe
plucking a leaf

is akin to cutting
the throats of one
thousand monks

here, he says
let me do that
for you,

how is this one?

Trongsa dzongkhag nyagoe

the strong man from Trongsa
turns his face away

when the medical aide
plunges the needle

into my upper arm,
the emergency room

bathed in morning light
where he brings me

when I slip and lose my footing
near the irrigation ditch

on the path to Chimi Lhakhang,
a landscape painted in phalluses

in the grainy streaming video
I watch his tiny figure compete

in log dragging, wood chopping
heaving giant tires across a field

to secure an honor; the veteran
of war on the tour, our frailest traveler

falters, hobbled years ago
by a yacht injury, lucky to walk again,

he maneuvers with hiking poles
& when he tires, the strongman

carries the 235-pound grown-up
down the dirt path atop his back

to the edge of Sopsokha Village
when I turn back to look

he’s holding the old man’s hand
tending to those who can’t move

as quickly, walking by my own side
on the ascent to Tiger’s Nest,

he shares a dream of nearly finishing
engineering school, in his fourth year

to be expelled for an error made
in youth, I regard the tattoo on his

left arm that brings him regret
concealed beneath the sleeve

of his tartan gho, the pain
of old mistakes, to feel

one’s worth, the might to strain
forward into the emerging

And there has been a late entry to our spring poems. Here’s one written by Jordan Gauthier:




To lisp,

A whisper,

My name,

Or my true color?

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