The poets who watched the sky at night

by Will Kemp

What were they like – Lu-Yu, Yang-Ti, Kojiju –
sitting by their bamboo house under the moon,

unable to sleep, reflecting on how that pale flower
in the stream cannot be caught in a jar?

Did they use lanterns or the brightness of the dark
to stir those brushes as pine cones dropped

in the jade woods by Yen Chao, then sleep by day
dreaming of the flight of moths in silk light?

And in those small hours, did they draw water
from the well with two faces, thinking how

the stars flicker like camp-fires across a plain
or blossom borne away on the Spring River?