Four Chinese Screens

In late autumn man bids farewell
to his best friend, and sets
his face against a background
of spidery leaf spikes,
burning igneous and rusted.
Roots knuckle forth as though torn
from hard earth, and a white heron,
large and tear-shaped, is heavy on its branch.

Each tree is hung with ascensions of ice
and things lie sleeping under a curtain of snow.
Man walks in his grove and is alone.
He thinks of the white bed he has left,
the pale afternoon light on the lonely wall,
and suddenly something he sees
flushes him to life, a charge
of reality rises in vertical planes
like an invisible bird.