“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ On the Disintegration of Clearings

On the Disintegration of Clearings

by Christopher Warner

for John Ashbery

By what pale names we flutter. The thrush lay
stunned. (Did I kill it?) Now the blossoms shift 
to ash. By what shall we be consoled?
Details. Floating minutia. Hazes of place 
and time. Not exactly signs, but still. 
Yours was an exquisite violence. 
(Unintelligible, that bird, but at least 
approachable in death.) Forgive my doubt—
How sad I am, swimming in this mirror,
this film of light crowning the abyss.

Christopher Warner

About Christopher Warner

Christopher Warner works for the railroad and lives in central Illinois with his family. His poems appear in NarrativeImageCopper NickelRiver StyxTupelo QuarterlyNew South, and elsewhere.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.