Here is my favourite of the poems in Diana Chang’s collection What Matisse is After:
A Dialogue With My Own Temperament
Must you, I sigh again,
must you disturb the peace I also garden?
Small aspects detach themselves from a field
the dog’s color matches the wheat
but in motion and thought
he parts from the unawakened sheaves
My nature replies, I know you come and go.
(Am I hers
or is she my soul?)
Ah yes, I remember with relief,
glad to see nothing down the road of promise and will.
I can do without me very well, she mockingly reminds me
yet walks alongside like a montage
The lanes oblivion all the way
Stray knowledge laments
in trees likes doves.
We’ve each offered more than our hand:
Striving, grief, patience and love
I’ve nothing to say. I am deaf
and single and dumb.
This peace I need, pure and plain,
is such a joy,
I am away again—
cast far like a long shadow
Go. Stay gone. Why do I keep returning,
large with new time?
But she unfurls
her breath in my sleep
And I have things to say to myself again.
I’m the very rain she rains and weathers.
How can I judge a poem that feels so close to my own experience that I recognise my thoughts in many of the lines? Not at all, so I only share it, and wonder as I read it over again if I might grow large enough to be always the rain.