George Freek

I PONDER THE FUTURE (After Su Tung Po’s ‘Autumn’)

The summer’s lilies are gone.
They’ll never come back.
The autumn chrysanthemums
are also fading.
They’re turning black.
What beauty is there in winter?
I hear a cardinal whistle
his lonely cry.
‘Look at me’, he seems to say,
raising his despondent head.
Perhaps he just missed a grub.
He’ll also soon be dead.
I know rivers still flow
beneath the ice. What is that
to me? I gaze at mountains
and the clouds beyond.
I see ice forming on the pond.
I think of snow and lose all will.
Time is intangible, but it can kill.

PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING: A PAINTING BY TAO CHI

The mountains rise up
in grim shapes,
looming high above
the workers and the monk,
meditating in his cell.
They ignore those towering rocks
at their peril.
But what else can they do?
The mountains brutally
turn away. You are
transient, they seem to say.
And where are the peach trees
and peach blossoms,
and where is spring?
They’re not even there.
They’re unimportant.
The mountains are everything.

NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY (After Li Po)

I stare at my unmade bed.
I gaze out the frozen window.
Last month I saw flowers,
now it’s snow and ice instead.
Outside, a chilling breeze
stirs the pathetic leaves.
The moon is a ball of lead,
which floats across the sky,
but it’s silent and it’s dead.
I gaze at distant stars,
lost in an infinite sky.
I feel the approaching cold.
I’ve just turned sixty-five.
I no longer need to be told.
Self-pity’s a privilege of the old.


George Freek is a poet/playwright from Illinois. His poems have recently appeared in “The Stockholm Review of Literature”; “A New Ulster”; “Dreich Poetry”; “Miller’s Pond”; and “The Gentian Journal”. His plays are published by Playscripts; Blue Moon Plays and Off The Wall Plays.

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