! To Li Po (Li Bai) And Uriah - Poem by Michael Shepherd
Dear Li Po,
strange things happen to poets
during their life,
especially those who like wine.
But now, more than a thousand years
after your suicide,
men have named a crater on
the planet Mercury with your name…
Mercury, the planet the Greeks called
Hermes Apollo, messenger of gods and poets;
the shining one;
although men have not been there yet.
When they do, they may find you
sitting in your crater, watching the Moon
(we think it will appear to you
two times a day instead of once…)
and drinking wine with Uriah;
(and your shadows will be there too,
tall on the crater’s slope…)
you’re teaching him Chinese;
he’s translating your poems into English
with your approval.
He’d like that. We hope you would.
A strange place for immortals to drink wine;
but poets do and say strange things;
that’s why we love them, just as
children love surprises,
dear Li Po.
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