Li-Young Lee

POETRY: The Eternal Son by Li-Young Lee

December 20, 2017

Someone’s thinking about his mother tonight. The wakeful son of a parent who hardly sleeps, the sleepless father of his own restless child, God, is it you? Is it me? Do you have a mother? Who mixes flour and sugar for your birthday cake? Who stirs slumber and remembrance in a song for your bedtime? If you’re the cry enjoining dawn, who birthed you? If you’re the bell tolling night without circumference, who rocked you? Someone’s separating the white grains of his insomnia from the black seeds of his sleep. If it isn’t you, God, it must be me. My mother’s eternal son, I can’t hear the rain without thinking it’s her in the next room folding our clothes to lay inside a suitcase. And now [...]

POETRY: The Hammock, by Li-Young Lee

January 29, 2014

When I lay my head in my mother’s lap I think how day hides the star, the way I lay hidden once, waiting inside my mother’s singing to herself. And I remember how she carried me on her back between home and the kindergarten, once each morning and once each afternoon. I don’t know what my mother’s thinking. When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder: Do his father’s kisses keep his father’s worries from becoming his? I think Dear God, and remember there are stars we haven’t heard from yet: They have so far to arrive. Amen, I think, and I feel almost comforted. I’ve no idea what my child is thinking. Between two unknowns, I live my life. Between my mother’s hopes, older than I am by [...]

POETRY: The City In Which I Love You, by Li-Young Lee

November 20, 2013

By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.  I will rise now, and go about the city in the street, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. (Song of Solomon 3:1-2) And when, in the city in which I love you, even my most excellent song goes unanswered, and I mount the scabbed streets, the long shouts of avenues, and tunnel sunken night in search of you. . . That I negotiate fog, bituminous rain ringing like teeth into the beggar’s tin, or two men jackaling a third in some alley weirdly lit by a couch on fire, that I drag my extinction in search of you. . . Past the guarded schoolyards, the boarded-up churches, swastikaed synagogues, [...]