China by Harry Newman

seek wisdom the Sufi saying goes even as far as China
and I think of that because you’re on your way again
though they meant a China of the mind the farthest reaches

beyond maps unknowable where silence is the only language
or more the silence within silence so far from words sound
any sense of its opposite the great ocean of thought and breath

we carry within that carries us not the actual China
where you’re heading though that too exists beyond itself
seen only as reflections glimpses when the smog clears

I’ve been thinking lately about oceans their surfaces
changing so quickly never staying still how they remain
essentially unmappable except at coastlines the boundaries

defining what they are not yet even these keep shifting
eroding and building up how little they resemble lines
on the map when we see them only approximation

our feeble dreams of stasis but I’m thinking too
of the oceans around us daily the endless lap
of language of being in new countries like being

under the sea swells of sounds washing over and
around you only with time resolving into currents
waves wavelets crests words phrases sentences

we hold onto to keep from drowning piecing together
a lexicon of our own senses meanings repetitions
we hope will carry us these are maps of a kind

personal longitudes internal navigations changing
constantly all we have as we drift from border to border
dreaming of nearer Chinas always beyond our reach

Previously published in The New Guard

3 responses to “China by Harry Newman

  1. Was very impressed by the Harry Newman poem, “China”.

    The thoughts behind it are very profound and make me want to
    meet the poet.

  2. A truly great poem, and reach as if it came from the true depth of the poet’s soul.
    I loved it. Let’s hear more from this poet, Harry Newman!

  3. N. E. Egging

    I have been a life long fan of Harry Newman; the playwrite, the poet and the man. It is good to see his work getting the exposure it deserves.

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