Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


King Hong Kong

Simon Patton

  I: Mountains Finally Make Themselves Felt (Sha Tin)
                         The Mountains—grow unnoticed— 
                         —Emily Dickinson
  It’s eerie to see how here 
  mountains once were. Where 
  the head hits unexpected angles 
  they loom, unbuilding 
  backbone highrise with natural incongruity 
  while displacing a moment monumental
  displacement in me. Where had my eyes 
  been all this time? I—now resighted— 
  wonder. What fixes them so 
  religiously to that precinct of the geometric-human?
  Meanwhile, from the thirtieth floor, trees
  grow real sky, disturbing sheer wall, 
  unnerving unmathematically the rigorous town-planning
  of ‘home’.
  II: The Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple
  Hardly a temple: it’s more like a zoo 
  of enlightened beings. They watch me 
  mount the concrete stairs, sculpted 
  slightly larger than life and painted 
  mock-gild gold. They’re no match 
  (of course) for the jungle butterflies 
  vivid in Summer air. Here’s one now, 
  sunning itself on the merciful, all-compassionate tip  
  of Kwan Yin’s nose.
  III: Blind Choir (Nam Shan Estate)
  Between the concrete wall of a block of flats
  and—flightless—concrete stairs
  this was no place on Earth we’d ever expect
  a Christmas choir. I was caught
  as I think I always am
  when the once-in-a-lifetime moment comes
  in two minds twice unequal to the task.
  By the way they looked crookedly through their song
  I could tell they all sang blindly by ear
  and I realized how my thin sightseeing power
  was stone-deaf here to the sonic invisible.
  The harmony of so many separate shared voices
  none of which carried the main body of music
  across the arid hubbub of human noise
  braked my heart:
  this was the concert of the fragment,
  soaringly restored to charismatic wholeness,
  rock-solidarity made possible by breath.