Sunday Poem

Lu Yu (AD 1125-1209)

On the day of Lu Yu's last sickness
a thin coffin was ready,
and two quilts to cover him,
and the gravediggers paid
their work done.
Then he started to write another poem
a short time before death,
about drinking wine again in the village —
He was working on the poem when they buried him,
so that half a line protruded from the earth
in wind and weather's hearing —
With sunlight touching the first young syllables,
the last ones flowering from a dark coffin:
“marketplace the in/drink more One”
The first three words above ground
the last ones wine in the Red Dust.
Near the village of Shanyang
in Chekiang Province…

by Al Purdy
from Beyond Remembering-The Collected Poems of Al Purdy. 2000