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Poem of the Week by Dan Gerber

Wang ... somehow cobbled together his career as a renowned hermit in whatever free time his office job allowed. – David Hinton

By Dan Gerber

This tiny gentian,

so faithful to the earth in its teardrop

of honey-colored amber, bloomed

and became immortal

thirty-five million years before

anyone thought of God.

And today I read that we exist

because of a cosmic imbalance.

For a reason no one understands, the universe

contains just a little more

matter than antimatter.

Wang sought an image of a world

that fled like darkness from his lamp.

He found himself in the trees,

the grass and leaves, the river,

the fawn come to drink in

the landscape of midsummer.

Verlaine called the universe a flaw

in the purity of nonexistence;

Keats, “the vale of soul-making.”

Rilke said,

“I have such pure mornings,”

and Cafavy lamented

that “Night returns to draw us back

with its same fatal pleasure.”

Wang wondered why the spring breeze

blew its scattered blossoms to his door.

Above the mountain, the day’s

first cloud turns from

gray, to mauve, to gold.

He found that springtime

in a pot of wine, which

often brought with it a poem,

often carried it away

before he could write it down.

DAN GERBER will be the featured poet at the 16th Annual Williamsville Poetry, Music, Dance and Art Celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Williamsville East High School Auditorium, 151 Paradise Road in Amherst. A Michigan native who now lives in the mountains of central California, he is the author of three novels and eight collections of poetry, the most recent of which are “A Primer on Parallel Lives” (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) and “Sailing through Cassiopeia” (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). This poem, which references the 8th century Tang Dynasty era Chinese poet Wang Wei, originally appeared in Narrative magazine.