The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

March 21, 2003

sauntering long ago

in the northern darkness the fish has its name kun, of it no idea how many
thousand li, and it's a bird and it's name is peng, yes it is, it's got an
enormous back, i've got no idea how many li it is, when it gets angry or
aroused then it takes off and its wings! its wings! you can't imagine how
big they are, anyway an anhinga and an atala butterfly were talking and
saying to each other, wow, you just can't fly high enough to see the whole
pond which was in a cut that shook the water but seemed much larger. so
they said, the story is in the northern darkness, etc. that's how big the
world is, so big that you can't imagine or even walk through it. and what
comes out of the northern darkness goes into the southern darkness, yes it
does, i can't imagine how it does that, but it does. i don't think it sees
much of anything either, but then how should i know, its colors are
amazing, maybe it's because it's so large there's room for everything, i
think maybe it's a bird called peng, but some say it's a fish called kun,
but how could fish fly, and how could a bird swim across the darkness so
far it goes from north to south, you can head north and arrive south, you
can head south and arrive north, a white horse is black, a dog isn't a
dog, you never know, loafing long ago and floating just about in any
direction, in the south, something stirs for three thousand li, some say
it's the waters, some just can't imagine


Right now they're bombing Baghdad - it is horrible, horrible


there were
great beating

beating in the southern
in the southern
darkness. there
were great
shadows moving
in the darkness, 3000
and moving li.

slowly all,
for there were
3000 in the southern
li. shadows
all in
together, and of
harmony. north
north and

depth from
south moved

from the peng,
from the depth
of the south,
as in black,
the black,
the black clouds,
the black sky
wheeling south,


the great wings were beating in the southern darkness. there were
southern shadows in the darkness moving slowly for 3000 li. all were
together and in harmony. from the darkness of the north and its depth to
the darkness of the south and its depth. the peng moved from north to
south, its great wings beating like black clouds wheeling in the sky.


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