I live near Boston and teach philosophy at Boston University. Besides academic pieces, I write fiction when I’m up to it and poems when I can’t help it. I use a fountain pen—my link to tradition—and write to music. I’ve published essays, stories, and poems in a wide variety of journals. My most recent book is Heiberg’s Twitch.
Poet, Dancer, Tree
The poet aches just like the dancer's toe.
Who knows of that broad gnarled beech
the agonies of its growth, what blisters,
what strained heavings through dirt, towards sky?
All beauty's born of pain. Nothing strides
into the grace of form without labor.
And still, when words and limbs are tightly tuned,
who remarks the ground over which they glide?
“Poet, Dancer, Tree” first appeared in South Dakota Review
Found Inside a Chinese Box
Tendrils thin as new snakes
undulate upon the inlaid table.
No desire for sudden noise
disturbs the Lord Shi-Yueh
taking green tea with his friend.
In the scarlet bedchamber
Qing-shan turns to his wife
and speaks of some incident
long past. Her gentle nodding
is like sunlight on gold roofs.
The family sits in the garden.
From the railing of the foot-bridge
the littlest child pushes pebbles
into the shallow running brook
while two ducks stop to watch.
In his study underneath the
tobacco shop of Mrs. Shang-Kiu
Hsi-Wei the calligrapher
paints these images in his
bumbling bird’s-foot characters.
“Found Inside a Chinese Box” first appeared in Southern Humanities Review
The poet strolls gravely through the garden
pretending to be almost Japanese,
capable of excising the ego
that spoils his verses as it pummels his
life. He tries to see the peonies as
Basho might; he too wishes to say something
unexpected about the ascent of
Fujiyama, to snatch up a whole
season in just seventeen syllables.
“Today’s Poem” first appeared in Leaning House Press
©2016 Robert Wexelblatt