Poems in Dialogue with Kenneth Rexroth's 100 Poems from the Chinese by DeWitt Clinton

The "numbers" at the head of each poem refer to the numbering system in Kenneth Rexroth's 100 Poems from the Chinese. If interested, please refer to the Rexroth edition (New Directions, 1971).


After Crossing the Milwaukee River in Late March,

I Read Ou Yang Hsiu’s “In the Evening I Walk by the River”

The River flows fast with no ice floes.

Too soon for canoes, and the fish too deadly for our dishes.

The bridge gets us to work, then home, too.

All the river boats wait quietly in dry dock.


Wondering About a Friday Night Fish Dinner,

I Look for Advice with Ou Yang Hsiu’s “Fisherman”

The ice fish houses have all disappeared on the lagoon.

Now the men stand with long poles on the bridge

Hoping for anything tasty by evening.

What I’ve wanted to say is almost impossible something you wouldn’t believe

But I’m still here, high above the River, waiting for cod.