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Dreaming Of Hair Analysis

Author: poem of Li-Young Lee Type: poem Views: 7

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Ivy ties the cellar door

in autumn, in summer morning glory

wraps the ribs of a mouse.

Love binds me to the one

whose hair I've found in my mouth,

whose sleeping head I kiss,

wondering is it death?

beauty? this dark

star spreading in every direction from the crown of her head.

My love's hair is autumn hair, there

the sun ripens.

My fingers harvest the dark

vegtable of her body.

In the morning I remove it

from my tongue and

sleep again.

Hair spills

through my dream, sprouts

from my stomach, thickens my heart,

and tangles from the brain. Hair ties the tongue dumb.

Hair ascends the tree

of my childhood--the willow

I climbed

one bare foot and hand at a time,

feeling the knuckles of the gnarled tree, hearing

my father plead from his window, _Don't fall!_

In my dream I fly

past summers and moths,

to the thistle

caught in my mother's hair, the purple one

I touched and bled for,

to myself at three, sleeping

beside her, waking with her hair in my mouth.

Along a slippery twine of her black hair

my mother ties ko-tze knots for me:

fish and lion heads, chrysanthemum buds, the heads

of Chinamen, black-haired and frowning.

Li-En, my brother, frowns when he sleeps.

I push back his hair, stroke his brow.

His hairline is our father's, three peaks pointing down.

What sprouts from the body

and touches the body?

What filters sunlight

and drinks moonlight?

Where have I misplaced my heart?

What stops wheels and great machines?

What tangles in the bough

and snaps the loom?

Out of the grave

my father's hair

bursts. A strand

pierces my left sole, shoots

up bone, past ribs,

to the broken heart it stiches,

then down,

swirling in the stomach, in the groin, and down,

through the right foot.

What binds me to this earth?

What remembers the dead

and grows towards them?

I'm tired of thinking.

I long to taste the world with a kiss.

I long to fly into hair with kisses and weeping,

remembering an afternoon

when, kissing my sleeping father, I saw for the first time

behind the thick swirl of his black hair,

the mole of wisdom,

a lone planet spinning slowly.

Sometimes my love is melancholy

and I hold her head in my hands.

Sometimes I recall our hair grows after death.

Then, I must grab handfuls

of her hair, and, I tell you, there

are apples, walnuts, ships sailing, ships docking, and men

taking off their boots, their hearts breaking,

not knowing

which they love more, the water, or

their women's hair, sprouting from the head, rushing toward the feet.


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